Demolition permit aside, Peterborough’s Black Horse Pub has not been sold … yet

Property at 450 George Street North is listed for sale but heritage designation request looms in the background

While The Black Horse Pub in downtown Peterborough has not been sold, the property at 450 George Street North, which includes the pub and several apartments on the second floor, has been listed for sale with Century 21 for more than a month (photo: The Black Horse Pub / Facebook)
While The Black Horse Pub in downtown Peterborough has not been sold, the property at 450 George Street North, which includes the pub and several apartments on the second floor, has been listed for sale with Century 21 for more than a month (photo: The Black Horse Pub / Facebook)

Despite the issuance of a demolition permit for the property at 450 George Street North, The Black Horse Pub has not been sold … not yet.

That’s the word from Nancy Kerr, social media manager for the pub, who, in response to Facebook-expressed concerns, has been quick to set the record straight following confirmation that demolition permits have been issued for the properties housing the Black Horse and The Pig’s Ear Tavern at 144 Brock Street.

That said, the Black Horse property is currently listed for sale by Terry Horrigan of Century 21 and has been on the market for more than a month. The asking price of $850,000 includes three bachelor apartments on the building’s second floor.

“We have not been sold,” writes Kerr on Facebook on behalf of pub owner Ray Kapoor, admitting to “lots of tire kicking” but affirming, as of now, it’s “business as usual” at the popular downtown Peterborough live entertainment venue.

“Would Ray really let this be the way his staff and musicians find out (the building has been sold)? We all know he’s not that kind of guy,” adds Kerr.

After a local media outlet reported that The Black Horse Pub had been sold and a demolition permit issued, patrons and local musicians expressed sadness and concern on social media, promoting The Black Horse Pub to issue a correction on its Facebook page

Dean Findlay, chief building official for the City of Peterborough, confirmed Friday (March 24) that demolition permits have been applied for and were granted for both properties back on February 24. While privacy restrictions prevent Findlay from saying who took out the permits, The Pig’s Ear Tavern property was purchased earlier this year by Parkview Homes; the historic pub is slated to close its doors for good on April 22.

Parkview Homes president Paul Dietrich was unavailable for comment when called Friday.

Muddying the picture concerning the future of the two properties is a March 2-approved recommendation by the Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (PACAC) that both properties be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Such designation, if granted, would prevent the demolition of either building without city council approval. A City staff recommendation that councillors “defer” approval of heritage designation for the properties will be presented to councillors this Monday night (March 27) when they sit as Committee of the Whole.

A photo of the interior of The Black Horse Pub from the property listing on the Century 21 website (photo: Century 21)
A photo of the interior of The Black Horse Pub from the property listing on the Century 21 website (photo: Century 21)

“The buildings at 144 Brock Street and 450 George Street North have strong associations with the community, are integral parts of the 19th century streetscape and display a high order of architectural design,” notes the staff report, authored by Community Services Director Ken Doherty.

“While both buildings merit consideration for designation, approval of the recommendation to defer the designation process and to refer the matter back to staff and the developers to explore viable re-development alternatives to demolition without some form of heritage preservation will provide time to determine what viable solutions may be available.”

A photo of one of the second-floor apartments from the property listing on the Century 21 website (photo: Century 21)
A photo of one of the second-floor apartments from the property listing on the Century 21 website (photo: Century 21)

In a related move, back on November 3, 2016, PACAC recommended to council that it approve 100-plus properties for listing on the Heritage Register which lists properties of historical/cultural significance.

While not a designation, listing means if and when a demolition permit is sought for a listed property, a 60-day period is in place during which the City has to be notified and council can review the application. On that list is The Pig’s Ear property but The Black Horse property is not listed. That list is still waiting for council approval.

The building that is home to The Black Horse was constructed in 1882 by George A. Cox and James Stevenson as an addition to the 442-448 George Street — The Morrow Bulding — at the northeast corner of George and Brock streets.

An interested observer of the future of both the Pig’s Ear and Black Horse properties is lawyer Ann Farquharson, a longtime advocate for the preservation of historically significant buildings. Her home on Weller Street is on the Heritage Register list awaiting council approval.

“I’ve been concerned that it (Heritage Register approval) proceed due to a possible development of the Pig’s Ear property,” says Farquharson. “I’ve been told by City staff that it will be on the (council) agenda for several of the last Committee of the Whole meetings only to be disappointed when advised senior administration had not placed it on the agenda.

“I think saving heritage buildings downtown is so crucial. I totally support development but there are ways of doing both. A great example is the old YMCA (at George and Murray streets). They’re going to save the corner part of the old building and it’s going to be a prominent feature. They’re going to save the entrance on George Street and they’re going to build 147 residential units. There’s lot of creative ways of doing it (preserving the past while embracing the new).”

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Paul Rellinger
Paul Rellinger a.k.a Relly is an award-winning journalist and longtime former newspaper editor still searching for the perfect lead. When he's not putting pen to paper, Paul is on a sincere but woefully futile quest to own every postage stamp ever issued. A rabid reader of history, Paul claims to know who killed JFK but can't say out of fear for the safety of his oh so supportive wife Mary, his three wonderful kids and his three spirited grandchildren. Paul counts among his passions Peterborough's rich live music scene, the Toronto Maple Leafs, slopitch and retrieving golf balls from the woods. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @rellywrites.

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