1836 - 1929

1836 - 1929

The origin of the house that became the Senator Restaurant – the oldest restaurant in Toronto in continuous operation at the same location – can be traced back to the very first property survey that was prepared by the Town of York in 1836. A copy is mounted across from the bar and the property - #67 – is outlined in orange. In this era, the City of Toronto – named for the Mohawk word “meeting place” – was a residential and commercial melting pot for the diverse nationalities that were immigrating to Canada. Yonge and Dundas (nee Crookshank and later Wilton St.) was yet to become the primary intersection in the City and the property - originally a home built in the 1850’s - was owned by the General Council of the Salvation Army.

1929 - 1948

1929 - 1948


In the 1920’s, after the war and prior to the Great Depression, Toronto was the cultural centre of Canada. The restored ELGIN/WINTERGARDEN (1913) and PANTAGES/ED MIRVISH (1920) Theatres are the last vestiges of the vaudeville houses built in that golden era and along with MASSY HALL (1894) formed the city’s Theatre District. Toronto -nicknamed “HOGTOWN” for the commercial meat packing industry – now had a thriving downtown where the community lived, worked and entertained, so in 1929 Robert Angeloff, a Macedonian entrepreneur, converted the home to the BUSY BEE DINER. The “B”as it was known consisted of an open kitchen and dining counter and started a tradition for serving comfort food and coffee to go. In 1938 – the year is still visible on the bottom of the large Coca-Cola sign hanging in the middle of the restaurant – brothers Luke and Vangel Eftimoff purchased the Busy Bee, which they later sold to George Nicolau; a cook with a vision.

1948 - 1984

1948 - 1984

In 1948, George Nicolau renovated and enlarged the BUSY BEE and renamed his two story building the SENATOR. Designed and built by the renowned Toronto Refrigeration Company - whose trademark can still be seen on our back bar – the RESTAURANT has all of the original fixtures from 1948 while the WINEBAR on the second floor displays the 1850’s construction and a vintage Prohibition Period Bar. The post war 1950’s building boom saw the unprecedented creation of new restaurants and nightclubs in downtown Toronto – “THE STRIP” - but regrettably these legendary establishments; TOPS, BASSEL’S, STEELE’S, THE BROWN DERBY, CHILD’S, TIMES SQUARE, SILVER RAIL, COLONIAL, TOWN TAVERN, DIANA SWEETS and LE COQ D’OR have all been demolished. George retired in 1962 but the Senator continued to be operated by his family; with Nick, his son, working the stoves and nephew Cecil Djambazis and their wives Merlyn and Triada taking care of the customers, the Senator earned recognition for having the “best egg salad sandwich and coffee” in town.

1984 - Present

1984 - Present

Saved and renovated in 1984 by Bobby Sniderman, the Senator has evolved to become a dining landmark synonymous with the City of Toronto. The success and reputation of the restaurant has been a result of our commitment to the finest quality ingredients and making many products in-house from scratch. We produce ROYAL CANADIAN HONEY on our organic farm in Caledon and are supplied by over 30 of the finest purveyors who provide the products for the preparation of hearty, delicious meals that are rooted in the classics. This beloved restaurant has served generations of Torontonians and visitors alike and now in our 89th year of continuous operation, we take pride in the tradition and longevity of this family business which will be operated by the SNIDERMAN family for many generations to come. The Senator began as a home and will forever remain one to our many valued suppliers, staff and customers.