The Boardwalk Pub could dominate refreshment sales along Toronto’s eastern beaches
As any visitor to Woodbine Beach knows, there is only one spot nearby to grab a bite: the Boardwalk Pub. If city council approves a new proposal, reports the Globe, the refreshment monopoly will remain in place until 2028—and the owners will pay $50,000 less in yearly rent.
The Boardwalk Pub, which opened in 1986, landed its sweet deal in the mid-2000s when owner George Foulidis asked the city about extending the lease beyond 2007. The council rejected competitive bids, with Beaches–East York councillor Sandra Bussin going to bat for the pub, saying that its existence prevented fast-food chains from opening in the area.
Since the lease expired three years ago, a draft agreement was created and will go to council this week. If it’s approved, it will let Foulidis’s family-owned company, Tuggs Inc., sell merchandise and booze at Ashbridges Bay Park, as well as pay $1 million less in rent over the extended 21-year deal. Locals contest that Tuggs’ exclusive rights mean Foulidis has the power to stop community events from happening in the area and accuse Foulidis of doing just that in the past.
But this isn’t just a local story of bureaucracy potentially screwing over a neighbourhood. According to a 2007 article from the Post, Foulidis’s friends and family members made a combined $8,250 financial contribution to Bussin’s 2006 municipal election campaign (almost none of the contributors lived in her ward). This was shortly before the Boardwalk Pub’s lease was extended in January 2007, even though Foulidis didn’t provide council with any financial information. In the 2003 election, Foulidis’s business partner, wife, cousin and other associates also made a combined contribution of $4,000 to Bussin. We also found an on-line petition to oust Bussin on the grounds that the Boardwalk Pub deal is not on the up and up.
The battle lines are now clearly drawn. Despite another questionable incident involving Bussin—calling John Tory’s radio show and blasting him without identifying herself—the mayor wrote a letter last week endorsing her re-election. Ever the anti-Miller, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong says the Boardwalk Pub deal “stinks to high heaven” and is fighting against its passage.