Our Story

The DINNER BELL story!

The Dinner Bell Restaurant was originally located in the town of Bonfield and was owned by Debbie’s grandparents, George and Pearl O’ Conner.

When George and Mabel (Pearl) retired in November of 1969, they celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary as well. George was born at Braeside Ontario and moved to Bonfield at an early age where his father, James, was employed at the J.R. Booth Lumber Mill. Pearl was born at Markstay on June 6, 1893. Her mother passed away seven years later, and she was adopted by the Plaunt family of Bonfield.

George and Pearl were married on November 23, 1914 and set up housekeeping in the house where Jim and Brenda Rawn now reside on James street. They were blessed with two children, Harris born on March 5, 1919 and Patricia on September 5, 1931.

In 1924, with George working as postmaster, Mrs. O’Connor opened a little restaurant on the corner of Mark and Sunnyside Road, which was then the main road between North Bay and Mattawa. This building was a former blacksmith shop owned by a John Seguin and was skidded from across the street. It underwent many changes and add-ons as the O’Connors expanded their business to include furnished cabins, boat rentals, fishing guides and live bait.

Movie stars James Cagney and Brenda Marshall were among the many who stopped to dine while they were filming “Captain of the Clouds” on Trout Lake, although they weren’t recognized right away.

Ironically, the original “Dinner Bell” was located on the corner of Hwy. 17 E. and the new “Dinner Bell”, located in a totally different location, is on Hwy.17 E. Pearl’s mission was to serve good homemade food. Hopefully, we are making her proud.



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