The long-awaited demolition of the derelict Cromdale Hotel finally started Wednesday evening as people gathered on the street to watch it come down.

"I'm really happy," said Joe Gauthier. "It's been a long time in coming. We moved in almost 6½ years ago and we've been fighting ever since for it to come down."

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People looked on as excavators tore down the walls of the Cromdale Hotel. (CBC)

While some welcomed the Cromdale's demise as a symbol of neighbourhood revitalization, others were sad to see the last of the old Alberta Avenue watering hole.

"I have some fond memories of this place even though it didn't have a good name," said Larry Skinner, who once had a knife pulled on him by another patron.

"I hate to see it go, to tell you truthfully, but a lot of people want to see it go, right?"

The Cromdale Hotel has been vacant since it closed in 2004. City officials issued a demolition permit for the building in 2009, but the owners took the matter to court, eventually abandoning their legal fight in November 2011.

The property was then purchased by Shoppers Drug Mart. Construction on the new drug store is expected to start in September.