One of the best known men in the county of Renfrew, is Robinson Lyon, more than forty years a hotel keeper in the Province of Ontario. He is a son of George and Elstet (Phillip) Lyon, and was born in Inverury, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, January 13, 1811. His father was bailie of that place for 49 years. In 1830 our subject married Miss Mary Ann Bank, of Bath, Eng., and six years afterwards came to Upper Canada, settling at Richmond, county of Carleton, where he was a farmer and hotel keeper for four years. The next fourteen years he was in hotels in Ottawa and at Chaudiere Falls. In 1854 he was burnt out in the Exchange hotel at Ottawa, having no insurance, and losing not only his house, but stables and several valuable horses. For a number of years while keeping a hotel, Mr. Lyon, in company with John L. Wilkinson, ran a triweekly stage to Montreal and a daily one to Prescott. He had also the mail contract for seven years from Ottawa to Franktown.
After the great loss by fire, Mr. Lyon removed to his present home, purchasing his present house, known far and wide as Lyon’s hotel. In 1839, on the completion of the railway from Brockville to Almonte, he ran a daily stage to that point, and was appointed the first ticket agent at Arnprior, holding that situation a year or two, never, however, relinquishing his hotel, which has always been a favorite resort of travelers.
The first wife of Mr Lyon died before he removed to Arnprior, after giving birth to ten children; and, in 1847, he married Miss Flora McMillen, from Glengarry, Ontario, by whom he has eight children. Only three by the first wife and six by the second are now living.
Mr. Lyon is a warm admirer of Robert Burns, a thorough appreciator of his songs, and can play them all on the violin, of which he is perfect master. His execution on that instrument, which is solely by the ear, is simply astonishing. In 1866 eleven of the best players met at Montreal on Hallow eve night to contest for a prize for the best Scotch violinist, David Kennedy, the famous Scotch vocalist, being umpire in that matter, and Mr. Lyon was the winner. A gold medal was awarded him, and this index of the triumph of his musical talent he prizes very highly.