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Location DB > Canada > Ontario > Toronto > Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant
Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant
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 Database Info
created by Darkman on 1/13/2015 11:24 PM
last modified by Collaro on 6/10/2016 10:02 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Way bigger than a bread box.
 Basic Information
Type: Ship
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: Moderate
 Physical Information

Toronto, Ontario
Owner: Limbo
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
     Interesting Features

     Security Measures
  • locked gates
  • wooden boarding
  • Port authority and soooo many people
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 0
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • rope
  • harness
  •  Recommended Equipment

    John Letnik escaped the former Yugoslavia in 1957, he came with nothing, not even family, he was 15 years old.
    He started as a dish washer in a Toronto restaurant and gradually worked his way to opening a small restaurant of his own.
    Despite not having any culinary training, the restaurant was very successful, with John himself, serving as the cook.
    Times were good, and by the mid seventies, John had big dreams of creating a restaurant like no other.

    He purchased a ship called the "Normac" which operated as a ferry traveling from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island, docked it at Toronto Harbourfront and converted it to a restaurant. Again business was great so John set his sights on an even bigger endeavor.....

    He returned to Yugoslavia in 1975, a very successful business man, and slapped the communist state back in the face by putting an irresistible one million dollars on the table, to purchase "Jadran" (trans: Adriatic), one of three luxury cruise liners built in the city of Split (now central Croatia) by the Jadranska Linijska Plovidba company. The ship made regular exotic cruise voyages to many scenic spots up and down the Adriatic coast during it's time in Europe.

    The ship was built with cutting edge Swiss technology and excellence in design.
    A million dollars was a steal at the time.
    The Jadran made it's journey across the Atlantic and was docked at Harbourfront and the new bigger and better "Captain John's Restaurant" was born.

    Both ships operated successfully, and times continued to be good.
    Political events, private parties of the seventies and eighties alone, were enough to keep both ships afloat comfortably.

    The Jadran was also open to the public and was the epitome of the Toronto fine dining experience during those years.
    Frequented by movie stars, political figures, rock stars and the who's who of the business world. John made friends in high places and everyone wanted a good seat at his top notch establishment.
    I did have the pleasure of dining here a couple of times back in those good old days, and despite his success and wealth, John still served as the chef and visited every table, greeting guests and making sure everything was up to par and everyone was happy.

    Captain John was exemplified as an outstanding citizen of Toronto with several awards, plaques and honorable citations for both his business success as well as his generosity to the homeless and less fortunate by providing free meals to the needy for decades.

    In 1981, the Normac was struck by the Toronto Center Island Ferry, through no fault of it's own, and sank.
    Opposing city lawyers cited every ridiculous theory in the book to make excuse to deny a simple payout for the damages.
    John was sucked into the vortex of an 8 year legal battle to be rightfully compensated. In the end, the usual story of lawyers "taking it all" applies here as John did win, but after all was said and done, he took home nowhere near enough to return the Normac to any remote functionality whatsoever.
    "Kill all the lawyers!" ~ William Shakespeare

    This began the downward spiral of the Jadran as well.....
    After the giant financial hit of the NORMAC as well as the economic situation of the late 90's and early 2000's, John would see a huge drop in general patronage. The city that once hailed him as an asset to the community would suddenly all turn their backs on him. Offering zero in the way of financial subsidy or assistance to the amazing Toronto landmark, and instead hit him with a $42,000 property tax bill. This was the first of its kind as all water vessels, even house boats are exempt from this tax in Toronto.
    This would also hinder Captain John's ability to maintain his high level of standards both in the culinary area as well as the general maintenance of the large vessel.

    Soon after non payment of these astronomical compounding taxes and fees, the city shut off his water supply, thus stifling the restaurant from basic operation of cleaning dishes and keeping things sanitary etc. They then quickly followed up with health inspections that shut down the restaurant and since have given him numerous fines for not removing signs, gang planks and have invoked Marine law against him. Barring the ship from leaving the harbor as well as potential additional charges for towing the vessel from it's location, even though at this point, it's moored in mud. He owes somewhere around 5 million dollars to the city of Toronto and creditors.

    This ship is seeing extreme decay fast.

    The big picture here, is that the once popular Toronto landmark has now become an eye sore for the condo corps who have their eyes set on further development of the area. The once exemplary citizen of Toronto is of no further use and is now being hung out to dry and his life's work being erased. There is talk of a parking lot replacing this spot.

    The fate of the "Jadran" is a coin toss at this time.
    Please visit to learn more about Captain John Letnik.

    UPDATE August 1, 2014 : The Toronto Communist Corruption Corporation has private "auctioned" off this giant ship for $31,000.
    The brass prop alone is easily worth that......
    The new owner has a few weeks to get rid of this ship, thus I would expect it gone soon.
    Update August 18, 2014 : Buyer has reneged on purchase, back in limbo.
    Update January 2, 2015 : Vessel has been boarded up and gangplanks raise to deter curious people from attempted entry. The boat, and legal battle, again, sits in limbo.
     Media Coverage
    Just google
     Future Plans
    Towed for scrap in 2015, a huge waste.

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Sun, Jul 13th, 2014
    posted by Darkman
    24 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    All aboard!
    Mon, Aug 4th, 2014
    posted by phrenzee
    22 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links


    Edit this Location
     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 9 / 10
    Coolness 10 / 10
    Content Quality 10 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Emperor Wang on 6/12/2016 7:32 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jun 12 16 at 19:32, Emperor Wang validated this location
  • on Jun 10 16 at 22:02, Collaro changed the following: Status, Future Plans
  • on Jun 10 16 at 22:01, Collaro changed the following: Status
  • on Jan 27 15 at 7:06, Ganesha validated this location
  • on Jan 27 15 at 4:51, Ganesha conditionally validated this location
  • on Jan 27 15 at 4:29, Darkman updated gallery Fishing
  • on Jan 18 15 at 18:32, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Jan 14 15 at 11:26, phrenzee updated gallery picture
  • on Jan 14 15 at 11:26, phrenzee updated gallery picture
  • on Jan 14 15 at 11:26, phrenzee updated gallery picture
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