captain johns toronto

This is what Toronto's most famous old waterfront restaurant looks like now

This luxury liner turned restaurant turned urban icon turned tax forefeit turned nuisance took a long time to disappear from its 40-year berth across from the foot of Yonge.

But it hasn't disappeared completely. Captain John's, aka the MS Jadran, is now beached in an Ontario scrapyard, and was recently discovered by a woman who sailed past it while working on a cargo ship.

The floating restaurant had been on Toronto waters since 1975 and left its Toronto home in 2015. It was owned and captained by John Letnik, who bought it from the former Yugoslavia, where is once served as President Tito's personal yacht. 

The once fancy restaurant, declined, fell on hard times, and then shut for good in 2012.

And now it sits in a nautical graveyard in Port Colborne. A part of it, anyway.

Eventually, even this last bit of the combination ship and restaurant is supposed to be recycled.

Captain John's used to look quite regal at the foot of Yonge Street. Photo by Vincent Demers.

Julie Waller Fletcher recently posted the photo of the ship's wheelhouse sitting in the Port Colborne scrapyard to a Toronto history Facebook group to a wild reception. 

The photos, taken from the deck of CSL Laurentien as it sailed the Welland Canal, inspired a long string of comments, full of memories of the ship.

One person remembers dining there the year it opened in 1975, and others share memories of graduations, weddings and dinner parties in the 1970s.

Comments also chronicle the restaurant's decline, one person noting how it was an "eyesore," though looking at the photos of the torn-apart ship with its faded lettering, it's hard not to romanticize its long and quirky history.

Lead photo by

Julie Waller Fletcher


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