Captain John’s has been at the foot of Yonge Street, floating in the waters of Lake Ontario, for 42 years now, and for 30 of them, John Letnik has called the ship his home. Now, as Karon Liu writes in his cover story about the floating restaurant in this week’s edition of The Grid, that’s all about to change: ”citing owed back taxes that exceed $500,000, the city has shut off the water supply to both the restaurant and [Letnik's] upstairs home. The port authority has detained the ship, meaning it cannot leave the harbour. On June 26, Waterfront Toronto, the group that owns the land where the neon red Captain John’s sign once hummed so brightly, gave him a month to clear out.”
As Liu writes, Letnik is “staying on this sinking ship as long as he can”—but his month is nearly up, and Letnik is about to find himself, for the first time in nearly a half-century, without a ship to command. Earlier this week, I talked with Liu about the end of Captain John’s, and asked him what it means for the 73-year-old man who’s given his life to it.
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The Grid Podcast is produced and edited by David Topping, with music from The Elwins.