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Canada

The Pilot bar marks 75 years in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood

A Toronto restaurant credits consistency for its success as it celebrates 75 years of business in the Yorkville neighbourhood.

“I like the place and it’s downtown,” said Edward Burrow as he sipped a beer at The Pilot on Friday.

“It’s an institution.”

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Burrow said he has attended the bar for about 30 years. His friend, Ron Robinson, shared similar sentiments.

“It’s a remarkable institution. Not many places last 75 years,” he said.

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The Pilot was founded in 1944, about a year before the end of the Second World War. It has been at its current location at 22 Cumberland St. since 1972.

“I first came to The Pilot in 1974 and we always said one day we’re going to buy the place,” said Alex Stuart, who has co-owned the restaurant for about 32 years.

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He told Global News a combination of The Pilot’s consistency and offering a little something for everyone has been the secret to its longevity.

“I like to think that we’re not sort of the ‘it’ spot,” Stuart said.

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“We don’t try to be something we’re not.”

Alex Stuart has co-owned the restaurant for about 32 years.
Alex Stuart has co-owned the restaurant for about 32 years. Albert Delitala/Global News

Briar de Lange, executive director of the Bloor-Yorkville BIA, said The Pilot offers familiarity in the always-changing area. She said continuing condo construction suggests a bright future.

“You literally have tens of thousands of residents who will live in this neighbourhood and maybe they’ll make the pilot their home as well,” she said.

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Ahead of a planned celebration Friday night, Stuart said he hopes his restaurant will hit many more milestones in the years ahead.

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“People say we’re an iconic piece of Toronto’s history and I like to think we’re an iconic piece of Toronto’s future too, I hope.”

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