The album details a pub crawl along the North Shore “From the Troller to the Raven with all stops inbetween”.
Spirit of the West are no more and at the end of the June the Raven won’t be. Multiple people have told me and confirmed by staff that the end of June 2022, the Raven, established 1979 will be closing.
The song tells the story of doing a pub crawl from the Troller in Horseshoe Bay all the over to Deep Cove. It mentions a few pubs on the way Park Royal Hotel (closed), The Rusty Gull (open), Square Rigger (open), Queen’s Cross (open). Unfortunately when they get to the Raven, they get the last beer to find they’d lost half their friends and had no money to get a taxi and were walking home.
I went to the Raven for the first time with my then to be wife on my first visit to Canada - over 29 years ago. Since we now live two blocks away, we tend to go there a lot more than we used to.
The story of the demise of the Raven is simple greed. The story (as I know it) is that the buildings were taken over by a developer who wanted to turn into condos. The district denied their rezoning plans. The developer has since tripled rents and made the businesses their untenable and one-by-one they’ve all been leaving.
Honestly, I’m surprised it’s hung on as long as it has. Over the last many years it’s been on its last legs. The beer has gone downhill with less craft beer and become very expensive. The mens toilets have been in various states of disrepair. The food has varied greatly, depending on the chefs - ‘ve gone through plenty. We’ve had food with no cutlery, pizza with metal bits in it, orders messed up. Sometimes poutine that was cold, had plastic in it, was more gravy than anything and so on. With COVID-19 they got a patio to supplement the tiny sunless one by the road - it’s in the parking lot with a fantastic view of cars.
And yet I still like going to the Raven. It was for me and many an extension of our living rooms. A few weeks ago I was there and saw 5 different groups of friends as people came and went over the evening. No need to get tables or order food - people would just pop in and out. We’d turn up after skiing on Mt Seymour, or biking on the mountain, or kayaking on the ocean in whatever we were wearing and have a drink with friends and no-one would care.
Even though it did end up being pretty crap, I will miss the Raven and I think Deep Cove will be worse because of it’s loss.