Pointe-Claire Village bar The Pioneer to shut its doors Saturday
Published Friday, July 20, 2018 7:42PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 20, 2018 7:43PM EDT
For the past forty years, The Pioneer in Pointe-Claire Village has been a popular watering hole to have a drink and spend time with friends.
But this weekend, the bar will serve its last drinks – and many are concerned about the future of the building.
Owner Diane Marois said she has a lot to say about the much-loved West Island spot, but she's too emotional, and so lets her old friend, musician Mitch Kastner, do the talking.
“For her, it's time to move on. It's time to not have to worry about the roof caving in, which it has recently. It's time to not worry every winter about the pipes bursting in the back,” he said.
What used to be a hotel in the late 1800s was bought by Marois's husband in the 1970s.
Now a deal with developer Deakin Realty has been inked, she said, to make place for a three-storey condo building.
Andrew Swidzinski of the Pointe-Claire Heritage Society is disappointed.
“This property is now being lost to the area. We're replacing it with a condo project that doesn't really belong in this village, which will look completely different from the kinds of buildings and the kind of heritage architecture that we've been used to seeing here for so long,” he said.
Even though a petition to save the Pioneer has garnered close to 3,500 signatures, it hasn't done much for business.
“Even with all of the press and all of the people coming in and asking questions, not one more beer or side of fries has been ordered by anybody,” said Kastner.
Before construction can begin, a demolition permit has to be granted.
A public meeting on the matter will be held on Aug. 9.
“People will be able to voice their opinion . There's a demolition committee, they'll hear the people that are for it, they'll hear the people that are against it. They'll evaluate the situation on the information they've received from experts and they'll make a decision,” said Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere.
Right now, though, the focus is on one last hurrah Saturday night, where many will bid farewell to the century-old haunt.
“Once the doors close at 3 we may have a drink, we may have some tears, we'll have a couple of hugs,” said
Kastner. “We'll sweep the floor and we'll move on with our lives, hopefully.”