Student pub may face bulldozers

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By Natalie Armstrong

Ryerson students may be losing their favourite pub.

With the city’s redevelopment of the Yonge and Dundas area, the Imperial Library Pub may soon see its doors close.

“We’re fighting it,” said Jack Newman, owner of the 52-year-old pub located at Dundas and Victoria Sts.

The pub hasn’t been taken over by the city yet. And Newman said he isn’t planning to sell.

“We’re trying very hard to stay here.”

The redevelopment area was originally supposed to stop just short just west of the pub, at Victoria Lane. But Newman said plans later changed to include the pub’s property.

Noted in Maclean’s magazine’s annual guide to universities issue last year, the pub is listed as “Ryerson’s favourite watering hole.”

The pub is two years older than Ryerson, and it has served thousands of Ryerson students and faculty over the years.

It has been the longest-standing and closest thing to a Ryerson campus pub, although it has no links to the school.

But students still like to call it home.

Newman said Ryerson alumni still come in for a drink every once in a while, adding there has also been a class reunion or two.

“Professional people keep coming back, talking over old times,” he said.

He added Ryerson teachers have held classes and screened films at the pub for their students. Student groups have also held meetings and parties there.

“We’ve had a very close relationship with the school,” Newman said.

The pub supports two scholarships at the school.

Thousands of customers have signed a petition to try to keep the pub from being included in the Yonge-Dundas redevelopment.

“They feel we are important to the area,” said Newman. “We do have a very loyal following.”

Although Newman said it is difficult to fight the city, and he does support the redevelopment of the area, he doesn’t want to see the pub shut down.

“We think the redevelopment is a great idea,” said Newman. “But I don’t think they need us as part of the development. We shouldn’t be forced to close after all these years.”

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