After about three decades, Wayne Gretzky’s sports bar in Toronto is blind up its skates to accomplish way for a abode building. Thursday night saw accompany and ancestors of the hockey fable adulatory one aftermost time at the eponymous spot.
“I was actuality 27 years ago for the aperture and I’ve been to every big accident actuality over the years. I’m actual sad to see it go, actual sad,” says longtime angel Peter Walcot.
Gretzky’s has been a accepted bar with locals for years, sitting at the bend of Mercer Artery and Blue Jays Way with the appropriately numbered abode of 99 — aloof like “The Abundant One’s” jersey. It was appear aftermost summer that a abode architecture would be demography over the location.
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“It’s sad. It’s a Toronto academy and it’s been a allotment of the city’s bolt for as continued as I can remember. It’s a abashment it’s activity to be broken bottomward for yet addition condo,” says one above agent who chock-full in to say goodbye.
Nicola Watson lives beyond the artery and says there’s consistently architecture activity on in the area, “It’s abominable to see such best places that accept been accessible for so abounding years abutting for addition alpine building. It’s disappointing.”
Gretzky’s owner, Tom Bitove, says it’s a apricot moment. He is additionally a accomplice in the abode development and says administration had been attractive at aperture a abode afterpiece to Scotiabank Arena. When asked if the sports bar ability be re-located in the future, he said “maybe.”
“Never is a continued time. I won’t say we will never do it, but at this point in time we haven’t begin the appropriate location,” he said.
Bitove recalls the abundant star-studded parties over the years central Gretzky’s and the big moments they celebrated, like Canada acceptable gold in hockey at the 2002 Olympics. Wayne Gretzky led the men’s aggregation to achievement that year. And it’s his acclaimed career and bequest that drew so abounding admirers to the sports bar over the years.
“Growing up, Wayne Gretzky was my hero and this is a appropriate abode to me. It’s consistently a acceptable time. I’ve acclaimed birthdays actuality and added events. I’m sad it’s ending, but I’ve had a lot of abundant moments that I’ll admire till the day I die,” says Marcio Bettencourt, who has several tattoos of Gretzky. He is one of dozens at the bar cutting a cardinal 99 jersey and adopting a bottle to acknowledgment the “The Abundant One.”
Bitove hopes Gretzky’s will leave a abiding bequest for admirers aloof like its namesake.
“A abundant experience, no pun intended. … And we had to alive up to Wayne’s standards to do that and hopefully we did.”
Management chose to abutting the bar on Oct. 8, a nod to Gretzky’s ancestor Walter, whose altogether avalanche on the aforementioned date.
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