The Black Bull Tavern, Then

The original name of the Black bull on Queen was changed to the Clifton House at some point until it reverted back in 1977 or so.


Back in the 60’s and early 70’s these bars were not what you would call “welcoming or “friendly”. Note the boarded up front windows.

These were dark holes where men (mostly) went to drink.

It was mostly cheap draft beer back then.

No one ever asked “Hey, what’s on tap?”.

The bars along Queen were all like this.

The Beverly, the Horseshoe, the Cameron, the Holiday. the Paddock, The Drake and the Gladstone.  At some point in the late 70’s things started to change, there were a few British pubs that offered a selection of imported draft beers and I suspect the proximity of OCA and the emerging music scene centred around the college had some influence.

Of course, if you went to OCA and hung out at the Bev, your beer of choice was Black Label and preferably in a quart bottle.


Looking south down Soho towards the Peter Pan restaurant circa 1974. a couple of years before Queen West became cool.


Remember When…

Buying liquor and wine in Ontario used to be quite a chore. There was no self service until the mid 1980’s. Arriving at the LCBO you would find rows of counters with the various items listed on a series of  vertical boards.


Unless you knew exactly what you wanted, this could prove difficult. You would then fill out your request on a slip of paper and present it to the cashier and pay. Once this step was completed, your slip of paper would then be passed on to one of the men behind the long counter.


He would in turn, retrieve your item from the back and put it in a paper bag.He would present your purchase to you and quickly pull it out of the bag for your inspection before handing it to you. There was a strange sense of secrecy to the whole event.

More of a pharmacy than a store….

Toronto House Prices 1889

From the Globe and Mail.

Note that some of these prices are for TWO houses!

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Housing in the city used to be affordable. Using the Bank of Canada’s Inflation calculator,

a house that cost $3000.00 at the turn of the century  is equal to about $70,000.00 in today’s money.