Black Bull Tavern
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Black Bull Tavern

Black Bull Tavern will look to an uncertain future

After nearly two centuries in Toronto, the future of the Black Bull Tavern is questionable.

The building at 298 Queen Street West, where the tavern has been located for the past 185 years, has been listed for sale, just months after the death of its long-time owner.

Following the death of the bar’s long-time owner this summer, the family has decided to exit the business, and the Black Bull has been listed for sale at an unknown price.

Janine Bartels, the granddaughter of late former CFL player and owner Bobby Taylor (who died in August), informed the media that in September that the property would be listed soon.

I really hope whoever takes over the property does something special with it,” Bartels added.

History of The Black Bull Tavern

Established in 1833, the Black Bull Tavern stands as an enduring testament to Toronto’s historical tapestry. Originally serving as a refuge for weary travelers, it transformed over the years into a quintessential meeting place for locals and visitors alike. 
In 1898, a pivotal moment marked its significance, as it underwent a substantial renovation, evolving into the iconic establishment that we recognize today. The Black Bull Tavern became an integral part of Toronto’s cultural fabric, hosting generations of patrons who reveled in its warm ambiance and rich history. With each passing decade, it adapted to the evolving tastes of the city, solidifying its place as a landmark and a cherished piece of Toronto’s heritage.
In recent times, the Black Bull Tavern has entered a new chapter as it goes up for sale, presenting a unique opportunity for a new owner to inherit its storied legacy. The tavern witnessed the ebbs and flows of Toronto’s transformation into a bustling metropolis, a journey reflected in its distinct architectural features. 
The years 1969 and 1970 marked significant milestones, as the tavern’s popularity soared, becoming a focal point for the city’s social scene. As it changes hands, the Black Bull Tavern’s next custodian will inherit not only a piece of Toronto’s past but also the responsibility to preserve and enhance this historical gem. The tavern’s legacy is not just etched in its walls but woven into the very fabric of Toronto’s cultural identity, awaiting a new chapter in its storied history..

Not an easy investment for a Buyer

Due to the building’s existing heritage restrictions, any buyer looking to renovate may face problems. The Black Bull Tavern, which is located in a Heritage recognized District, is also recognized under Parts IV and V of the Ontario Heritage Act and is on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register.

While blocks to the south have seen massive vertical construction in recent decades, Queen Street’s low-rise character has stayed intact, limiting development prospects for this site even further.

The most likely choices for whoever buys the house are renovation and conversion.
In the meantime, patrons of the Black Bull can relax because no closing date for the popular watering place has been declared.

The tavern has faced its fair share of difficulties in recent years, including a three-alarm fire in 2011 that mainly spared the bar but burned the apartments above, as well as surviving the citywide lockdown in 2020 and 2021.

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