University of Waterloo's on campus pub The Bombshelter Pub slated to close

The Bombshelter Pub at the University of Waterloo is closing after more than 40 years. The Federation of Students, which runs the pub, says it's no longer financially sustainable.

The Bomber isn't financially sustainable, Feds VP says

Students enjoy some nice weather on the patio of The Bombshelter Pub in this photo from the pub's Facebook page. The Federation of Students, which runs the pub, announced this week the Bomber will close because it's not financially viable. (The Bombshelter Pub/Facebook)

The Bombshelter Pub on the University of Waterloo's campus will close next month.

The Federation of Students (Feds), which runs the pub, made the announcement this week. The "Bomber," as it was affectionately dubbed by students, was not financially sustainable, Feds vice president of operations and finance Kurt MacMillan said.

"[The closure] is due to the financial losses at Bomber. We had to make a decision because being an executive and being part of the board, we had to look at what was the most fiscally responsible," he said in an interview.

Other campuses, including Western University in London and McMaster University in Hamilton, have seen decreasing sales at campus pubs, .

"There has been some trends in declines in the nightlife aspect," MacMillan said.

The Student Life Centre, the building where the Bomber is located, already has a few places students can get coffee.

"We're kind of just looking for whatever opportunity makes the most sense for the students," he said.

'It's bad timing'

He said about 40 students worked at the pub. On Thursday Feds said it "has a number of part-time positions open for students at this time, and the students who worked at The Bomber are encouraged" to apply.

There will be two events for students to say goodbye at the start of the winter semester: the final First Bomber Wednesday will take place on Jan. 9 and then a special New Year's Eve 2.0 is scheduled for Jan. 16.

After that, MacMillan says the pub will become an open space for students. The university community will be asked for thoughts on what the space should become in the long term.

News of the closure came as students were wrapping up exams. In a blog post, MacMillan agreed the timing of the news "sucks" but he says it was a difficult decision.

"It's bad timing, but it's always bad timing when it comes to situations like this," MacMillan told CBC.

Remembering the Bomber

Closure of the 40-year-old institution has many current and former students reminiscing about good times at the pub, including Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky.

He recalls sitting at the pub with friends after class on a Friday.

"We'd all get together and just got through the week and sit around and chat," he said.

But, Jaworsky added, sometimes things have a lifespan. He noted Federation Hall on campus lasted about 15 years. Fed Hall was run by Feds as a nightclub, but it was taken over by the university in 2012 and is now used as an event space by UW catering.

The closure means the only places on campus to purchase alcohol now are POETS, the pub run by the Engineering Society, and the Grad House.

Others took to social media to remember the Bomber.


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