Having spent our young adult life in Britain, with its warm and welcoming village pubs, coming to Canada in the late 50s was something of a culture shock. There were these cold stark places, with sawdust-covered tiled floors, and sections labelled "Men" and "Ladies and Escorts." We almost gave up on drinking altogether, but not quite. There was the old Pilot Tavern, formerly up on Yonge Street, and the Silver Rail down opposite the old Eaton's store.
Buying your bottle of favourite tipple came as something of a shock also. You lined up in front of this steel-cage-protected counter, selected your choice of liquor from a printed list and wrote the applicable number on a slip of paper. You signed your name assuring of your adulthood and the fact that you weren't on drugs or had a criminal record, and were handed your purchase hidden in a brown paper bag.
Then we found the Rouge Valley Inn with its cosy bars and log fire and we were delighted, but our pleasure was short lived when fire destroyed the building. The Robin Hood Inn on Altona Road wasn't as cosy or welcoming, but it sufficed until it was closed some years ago and now, I notice, is being replaced by sub division homes.
Finally, Hallelujah! The old Esso Gas Station was transformed into The Black Dog, a delightfully warm and inviting pub, complete with log fire, not to mention a lovely and welcoming young staff. (Forgive me for telling the story once again that my brother-in-law ran that Esso station in the 60s and I changed the transmission on my 1952 Ford while it was up on the hoist in what is now the main bar.
Now, after years of successful operation of The Black Dog, providing food and service second to none, Ken Reuter has moved on. George Voulgaris, the new owner of the Black Dog, had visited the pub on many occasions, and been intrigued by the friendliness of the staff and the caliber of its patrons. Ken had the Pub for sale for two years, which George was able to find out while investigating other pubs in different locations. But he always came back to the "Dog" and to this special West Rouge community.
Having had 30 years' experience in the restaurant/bar business, George promises to maintain the fine tradition of service excellence we have enjoyed at the "Dog" for many years. He is delighted to be here in the Rouge and looks forward to the challenges and opportunities for this landmark Pub in the future.