Talisman Motel Shamed The Word ‘Heritage:’ WHOPPER WATCH


whopper.watch .12.26


The pavilion is “a unique, historic feature and part of our city’s history.”

River Councillor Riley Brockington on the Japanese pavilion at the now-demolished Travelodge Hotel.



Your agent had the dubious pleasure of staying at the former Talisman Motor Inn in 1988.

The Citizen was checking me out for a job in its newsroom so, due to a incredible shortage of hotel rooms in the west end, the powers-that-be put me up at the Talisman which became the Travelodge which recently was demolished.

Looking around the motel, I ran into the Tiki Bar there. Wow, what the hell had I got myself into? That was the tackiest bar I’d ever seen. Might still be.

The decor looked like a cross between a bordello and a bordello with apologies to the disservice the comparison gives  bordellos everywhere. It was pretty much empty and deservedly so.

Look I’m a history nut, that’s what my undergrad is, and I probably appreciate heritage more than most. But the Tiki Bar heritage … really?

The Talisman looked like a typical motel on a commercial ribbon, which, in those days, Carling Avenue was. If there was heritage value at the Talisman, which is doubtful, the first time I learned about such a designation was a recent story from the CBC on its demolition. Thirty-six years and your agent didn’t know it was heritage. Its historical value was well disguised.

The Talisman-Travelodge as heritage does a disservice to heritage. It looks better flattened.

Ken Gray


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7 Responses

  1. John Langstone says:

    This is a fun story – I wish I could remember the place. But to me there are perhaps two issues here, the process by which the bar was demolished, and whether it should have been designated heritage, the point you make. In terms of process, a commitment was made to keep the building as part of the development approval by council. Now the building is demolished without required notice of this change to council. Whether the bar was worth keeping or not, is one thing, but it appears that between staff and the developer, the building the was just demolished, ignoring a commitment at council approval time. Sort of looks like staff thumbing their noses at council here. A bit like the Jock River development where they just said council approved something they hadn’t as I recall. Issue to me is if there any staff accountability for this sort of thing?

  2. Kosmo says:

    I’m not sure about the Heritage distinction for the Tiki Bar but The Beachcomber Room stories are legendary.

  3. Ron Benn says:

    In the mid ’70s this was a trendy bar, along with the nearby Banana Boat. It offered tumblers filled with fruit juices, laced with rum. Nostalgic? Perhaps. Heritage? Not by any serious definition of the term.

  4. John Langstone says:

    Getting into the spirit of the comments, perhaps we should be lobbying for heritage status for the Carleton Tavern. There aren’t a lot of places left that remind me of misspent time in my university days.

  5. Ron Benn says:

    John, better add the Prescott to your list of heritage watering holes.

  6. Ken Gray says:


    I can make a better argument for the Carleton on heritage than the Tiki Bar. Unless you’re Polynesian which is unlikely.

    There is more heritage in a pickled egg and beer nuts at the Carleton than the Talisman.

    I always had a wish to drink beer on Saturday night with Don Cherry at the Carleton. Quarts of Export maybe.

    I got to know Don a bit when I was covering the Senators money woes when Rod Bryden owned the team. Other than the wife of a friend in Montreal, he was the only person to call me Kenny Boy. “How’re doin’ Kenny Boy.” He was a lot of fun.

    I never agreed with much that Don said … almost nothing … but as a person off-camera he was a great guy. People loved him and it was easy to see why. He was truly larger than life.

    Once he held up an unsigned Citizen editorial I wrote on Coach’s Corner in which I said that when players fight in hockey, the fans should boo. “Who would write that?”

    So Monday morning I called Don and told him I wrote the editorial. “You wrote that Kenny Boy?’

    I got a 15-minute podcast out of it on fighting and he ended the interview with “I don’t think you’re going to win this one but keep up the good fight.” That was Don. What a guy.

    You know he got fired for a veiled shot at immigrants but his PR person was south Asian. I don’t know why he did that because his PR guy loved him.

    It would have been nice to spend an evening at the Carleton with Don but he was always working on Saturday nights and rarely in Ott –a — wa as he said it.

    A lost opportunity.



  7. Robert Roberts says:

    All depends on what you mean by the word heritage.
    We are going pretty deep in the weeds with this item.

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