The building where the Pioneer Bar and Restaurant on Lakeshore Road in Pointe Claire is located, has been an iconic presence in the village since the early 1900’s, but it has been sold and could soon be turned into a condo development.
Diane Marois, the present owner of the Pioneer said although the deal still needs to be finalized, the new owner has plans to build 15 condos, three townhouses, four commercial storefronts and an underground parking lot.
The building was actually a hotel in the 1880s and after a fire destroyed most of the village, the current structure housing the Pioneer was built in 1901. It’s had many incarnations since then, but in 1979 it became the Pioneer, then they changed the name to Clyde’s and back to the Pioneer in 2011.
It has remained a landmark ever since, where many memories have been shared over pitchers of beer with sandwiches or hamburgers and fries. The wooden walls resonate with the sounds of all the bands who rocked the place over the years. It has become run-down and in need of some serious tender-loving care, but it still holds its charm and remains close to the hearts of those young and old who have spent many an evening there to unwind after a long work day or just lean back, watching the scene and listening to the music while others cut loose to the beats.
Most local residents see the place as a blight on the landscape and feel the Pioneer’s days have to come to an end and would welcome the condo development. Others see it as a treasure and want to save the place.
Some residents have already started an online petition against the rumoured demolition of the building, stating ‘the decision would ruin the face of the village’ and more than 500 people (and growing) have already signed it.
According to Michel Forest of the Pointe-Claire Historical Society, the city has yet to receive any demolition requests for the building and when they do, they will post a sign in front of the building and then hold public consultations.
Should the Pioneer and the building be saved – or has it seen its days and time to move on?