What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

The Derby Tavern

The Derby stood at the south east corner of Parliament and King from 1847 until 1988. I never went in but wish I had…

20130911-Beale-KingParliament The_Derby_1988 derby

slide371The S/E corner of King and Parliament as painted by Gerald Lazare sometime in the 1980’s.

Below, from the streetcar loop.


As with many of the older bars in Toronto there was always a Men’s entrance that lead to a separate bar where the men would drink (really drink) and another entrance for Ladies and Escorts where couple could drink in a more respectable bar. The Spadina Hotel was the same.

…in the late 1930s, the Provincial Division of Venereal Disease Control launched a major campaign against hotel beer parlours alleging that they were spreading venereal disease and that prostitution was the main source of VD. “You read these official records and it’s only women who spread disease,” Campbell said with a laugh. “They never acknowledge that they got it from a man. Only women.”

The campaign intensified with the Second World War during which VD was seen as undermining the war effort by infecting young men. In 1942, the provincial government ordered that beer parlours erect physical barriers between two separate areas with separate entrances designated for men only and for ladies with escorts. The latter would allow women either alone or with their husbands and boyfriends. “The whole idea was to try to separate unattached women from unattached men.”


Screen Shot 2012-05-03 at 7.56.37 AMA current view.

Below, another example of the Mens Entrance. The old Hotel  Breadlebane on Yonge Street.

yonge and breadelbane 4504690380_d788114731


10 responses

  1. Skeets

    Had a few in the derby. The floors were so slanty that playing a game of pool was hilarious .at the time, the guest (s) who lived upstairs seemed a bit scary but it was always a friendly place.

    April 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm

  2. All of those bars were a little rough back in the 70’s/80’s before the gentrification.
    The Black Bull, The Holiday, The horseshoe, the Wheat sheaf etc.

    April 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm

  3. I remember the Gerrard Tavern just east of Parliament. Danced there in the 90’s. Noah’s Arc, Dawes and Danforth. The Winchester. The days of live music, dancing and a social arrangement of tables and chairs.

    April 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm

  4. Ed

    Oh yes! I remember the ”Ladies and Escort” signs in the late 50’s, early 60’s. I passed by that place many times but always…without ma camera 😦 = regrets.
    A shame, really, that so many old places are gone forever but, I suppose one must progress with the times…progress?

    April 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

  5. Bill

    Great to see these old pictures. Anybody remember the Brown Derby on Young and Dundas.

    April 5, 2014 at 8:36 am

    • Type Brown Derby into the search box and there’s another post on that.

      April 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

  6. Mike Kushnir

    Do you happen to have those old pictures of the tavern in high resolution? I’m the member of the board of the condo building which is built on its place, we might use them for the lobby decoration…

    March 6, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    • Not really.. What you see on the site came from the web.

      March 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm

  7. Torontonian

    The Breadalbane Tavern would later become
    the Parkside Tavern– a hangout for bikers
    and gays.

    October 27, 2015 at 7:21 pm

  8. I guess anyone can get along if they try…

    October 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm

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