The Hamilton Spectator

Site of demolished historic pub in Port Dover to become paid parking lot

Owners of former Norfolk Tavern property offer land to temporaril­y boost downtown parking


They paved paradise — or one of Ontario’s oldest pubs, anyway — to put up a parking lot.

At least for this summer. While they wait to reveal their hotly anticipate­d plans for the site of the former Norfolk Tavern in downtown Port Dover, the property’s owners have offered to lease the land at the corner of Clinton and Main streets to Norfolk County for one dollar for use as a seasonal paid parking lot.

Councillor­s eagerly agreed. The county will spend $9,000 to put up signs, mark off 60 parking spaces, and prepare the gravel lot to receive an influx of cars.

The new lot will be linked to a county-owned lot on Clinton Street that is already part of the paid parking program, which this year runs from June 15 to Sept. 5.

Drivers will then be able park for free at the new lot until the lease expires on Nov. 15.

Darnell Bernardo, project manager of traffic services, estimated the potential revenue from a parking lot at the former tavern site at $25,000.

“This is a step in the right direction to help solve the parking issues in the downtown area of Port Dover,” Bernardo wrote in a report to council.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Coun. Chris Van Paassen thanked the property owners “for thinking of the community and letting us use that for the summer.”

Port Dover’s representa­tive, Coun. Adam Veri, said the gesture is “much appreciate­d.”

“It’s nice of them to offer, for sure, and to have a little bit of revenue for Norfolk from it,” Veri told reporters.

“In the short term, it’s great. In the long term, we still have to solve the parking issue.”

Home to a rich history and a few resident ghosts, the Norfolk Tavern was thought to be the first brick building in town, and was in constant operation as a public house — and sometimes a hotel — for nearly 200 years.

The venerable watering hole was sold to a numbered company in 2022 and stayed open until Nov. 30, when the pub held a last hurrah with a late night of live music.

The tavern had a long history but was not officially designated as a heritage property, which paved the way for the owners to tear down the building a few weeks after last call.

 ?? SPECTATOR FILE PHOTO ?? The Norfolk Tavern in Port Dover closed Nov. 30.
SPECTATOR FILE PHOTO The Norfolk Tavern in Port Dover closed Nov. 30.

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