Brunswick House denies reports that last call is drawing near
The 'Brunny,' open for 139 years, is one of Toronto's oldest bars
Staff at Toronto institution The Brunswick House say they are "as surprised as anyone" by reports that it will be closing its doors after 139 years.
Reports surfaced Friday morning that the Annex bar, one of Toronto's oldest, may soon be vacating its location at 481 Bloor St. W. A post on the Harbord Village Residents' Association website says the building's owner has terminated the lease for the bar and that after Dec. 31, it will operate on a month-to-month lease until a new tenant is found.
The website also says that Boston Pizza is interested in that location.
But early Friday evening, a post on the bar's Facebook page sought to "clarify a few things," including that while the bar's lease does expire on Dec. 31, the lease has not been terminated. The bar and the landlord have agreed to move to a month-to-month lease, "pending a new lease being agreed upon.
"We have upheld every tenet of our lease, and have been as surprised as everyone at the news that we were closing," the Facebook post says.
"We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been given the chance to be the curators of a Canadian institution over the past 10 years and we are looking forward to spending as much time as possible with the community that has made us strong for 139 years."
Staff "are going to put forth every effort" to keep the bar open, the post concludes.
The owner of the building did not return repeated calls and texts from CBC News seeking comment.
But the chair of the Harbord Village Residents' Association said he's happy to learn that the Brunswick House could be on the way out.
Tim Grant said that while there are many people who remember the "The Brunny's" golden years, when it was filled with university students and live musicians like Jeff Healey, in recent years police have been constantly called to the bar and there's a regular spillover on to the street after the bar closes around 2 a.m.
The residents' group will hold a meeting Monday to chat about Boston Pizza's interest in the location. A potential hitch in the plan would be that it wants to build a patio on the ground level before signing a long-term lease, according to the meeting notice issued by the residents' association.
The "Brunny" has been a popular spot since it opened in 1876. The bar was particularly popular with students.
Some on social media have said they would be happy to the see Brunswick House depart while others expressed nostalgia for the drinking spot.
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> saw kd lang in her patsy cline days @ brunswick in '84. Loved the pearly lady on sat afts too. Will b sad to see it go—@kmbmarshall
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> The Brunny retains the unique distinction of being the only bar I've ever been tossed out of. It was just a little nap...—@LizScanlon
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> I lived on Brunswick Ave. Late at night, my roommate and I would get ice cream and watch the frat boy fights.—@NuncScio
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> I agree that the Brunny attracted bad behaviour in the hood sometimes, but Boston Pizza in the Annex? Gross!—@thekaralea
.<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> brunny memory: coming downstairs the next am and my dad (U of T grad) seeing stamp on my hand and saying "oh not the brunny!"—@nicpwall