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Historical Lloyd House turns on the taps in Mount Albert

Simon Martin

East Gwillimbury Express

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

When Doug Willitts was renovating the Lloyd House Restaurant and Bar in Mount Albert he kept finding dimes. He told the local cashier at Foodland about the coincidence and she told him to look up the story of the dimes.

When Willitts went home and looked up the story it all made sense. As the story goes when you start finding dimes mysteriously it represents loved ones who have passed away looking out for you. Having lost both his parents, Willitts paid tribute to them by putting two dimes and worry stone into the bar.

It’s these kind of personal touches that stand out at the newly renovated pub. The bar top comes from an old black walnut tree from the old Cupples farm on Mount Albert Road. Stones from Vivian Creek have also been put into the bar top to illustrate the water running through Mount Albert.  The tile on the floor telling guests they are entering the Lloyd House. A lifelong Mount Albert resident, Willitts said he wanted to help preserve the heritage of the town when renovated the former Prince Albert Pub.

The house at 69 Main St. was originally built in 1885 as church manse. The Lloyds, who ran the local drugstore, were the longtime owners. The Lloyd family lived in the house until the 1980s. It didn’t become a pub until 1998 when Ian Bowie bought the property.

The Prince Albert Pub shut its doors last January. Willitts said the house needed extensive work. He redid the floors, wiring, washrooms and the basement to name a few things. The renovations took longer than expected but since opening up in May word has travelled fast.

“The response has been very positive,” Willitts said. “People love having their pub back.”

Willitts had run the local Home Hardware lumberyard with his brother Tom for decades but eventually got out of the business. He was always interested in the pub business. But before jumping in headfirst he started the Moose Caboose food truck outside the Home Hardware to dip his feet into the food business. With the added experience, Willitts felt the time was right to get in the pub business.    

His vision is for the Lloyd House to be a community meeting place. Three weeks since opening, he can already see that vision coming together. “The other night two couples came in here sat at two adjacent tables,” he said. “By the end of the night they had made reservations to come back together.”

The menu at the Lloyd House has all the English pub house favourites like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, curry as well as North American classics like burgers, wings and chicken wraps.

There are many different hubs in the pub whether it be the bar area, the dining area, the snug or the beer tables upstairs. Willitts is still busy trying to get the patio ready for Mount Albert Sports Day weekend. “We got to have it ready for then,” he said.