46 CommentsLife, Memoir, Music, Photography

It’s true that everything comes to an end.
Sad when it’s something that has been part of your life for many years.

Hubby and I just got back from an overnight stay in Niagara Falls. It’s less than an hour away and a frequent “go to” place for us, when seeking a little R & R.


We would normally have dinner at our favourite restaurant, The Love Boat, but, this time decided to try a different place. The idea was to go there for lunch today and also bring home some of their mouth-watering seafood antipasto. I could live on that stuff; it’s so good!

Imagine our absolute shock when we saw this!

The Love Boat - c;losed!

Hubby and I have a long history with The Love Boat, going back to the late 1970s, when we used their catering services for our soccer team’s dinner dances. We went there often; alone, with friends, with visiting relatives, for special occasions, or even no particular reason, other than a hankering to go. When our Dalmatian passed away in 2007, we ran away from home and straight to The Love Boat, to escape our grief.

The owner was a personal acquaintance; a wonderful man who always gave us generous discounts. He would say: “No need to order from the menu. I know what you like.” We were then served a seafood feast fit for a king.

As one would expect by the name, The Love Boat had a nautical decor, with actual piping and pieces from ships, including a large steering wheel and a huge wooden captain’s table, with a 17th century world map carved into it.

The Love Boat

For our tenth anniversary, we and a couple of close friends stayed the night at the neighbouring hotel, (which was affiliated with the Love Boat). There was complimentary champagne in the room and after dinner, our host brought over a bar cart, laden with many varieties of liqueurs and brandies. “Help yourself to anything you like“, he said, “no charge”. To top it off, breakfast was free the next morning. We’ll never forget such hospitality!

10th Anniversary, Love Boat

By the time our 25th anniversary came along, his son was running the restaurant. We had organized a party for twelve and he personally cooked for us and served the meal. This was a big hit with everyone! Once again, we were given a generous discount and complimentary bottle of champagne.

Our last visit to The Love Boat was for my birthday, in January 2012. By then, management had been passed on to the third generation; a brother and sister team. It was somewhat disconcerting to see it practically empty. I assumed that was just seasonal. Niagara Falls thrives mostly in the summer months. On closer inspection, it also looked a bit rundown. The food was still excellent, as was the service. No discount this time, but the bill was reasonable. Yes, it had certainly seen better days. We honestly never thought about it closing down though.

I’m a little sad tonight and filled with nostalgia.

©D.D.B. 2013/2014

[originally published April 2013]

Do you have a favourite “go to” spot?

Have you ever experienced the loss of a beloved place?

Looking forward to your comments!

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Debbie D.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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46 thoughts on “MOURNING THE END OF AN ERA

  1. Hi Debbie,

    when I first saw the heading of the post and the image of Niagara Falls I thought that somehow it had dried up or something. No Bull!!

    Thankfully it was just a restaurant, although for you it was more than just that. Do you think that anyone else will take it over?

    I know of a few restaurants that changed hands and then saw a downturn in customers. This is usually because they changed the menu or something.

    1. Haha! That would be quite a sight, Peter. 😀 Yeah, the Love Boat definitely wasn’t “just a restaurant” to us and it was quite a blow when it closed. Not sure what will happen there, but will definitely check it out on our next trip to The Falls. Thanks for visiting.

  2. It’s always sad to see a local and well-loved business close down…I’ve seen that happen a few times with restaurants or local corner shops and it’s sad. The memories attached with the Love Boat will always remain for you I’m sure… 🙂

    1. Yes, we have over 30 years worth of memories, but Niagara Falls just isn’t quite the same now. Sigh…. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  3. Oh Debbie! Hugs! The year before last year, when I visited the city where I’d spent a few years of my life and some really fun times with my friends, I wanted to show my son one of our favorite hang outs – a Chinese restaurant. I was so shocked to see that it was no longer there. As I recalled the wonderful times I’d had there with my friends, I almost felt like crying. And felt really sad I couldn’t show my son the place. Sigh. So many places like this.

    By the way, we were at the Niagara Falls last year in April. So fabulous. 🙂

    1. It really is sad and I also felt like crying, Vidya. We had over 30 years of memories there and knew the owner and his son personally. This does seem to be happening a lot, everywhere. Progress! 🙁 Sigh…..
      We were also in Niagara last April (when I wrote this). Wouldn’t it be funny if we passed each other and didn’t know it? 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and have a good weekend.

  4. We had an old favorite close down early this year, too, and I’m still bummed about it! I’m glad you have a lot of happy memories of your time there.

    1. It’s really sad, isn’t it? Thankfully, we do have some wonderful memories. Hope you do as well. Thanks for dropping by and have a good weekend.

  5. Always tough to see an old haunt close down. With developing projects mushrooming all over the place, I can’t even find my college loves from a little over 15 years ago! Nostalgic post, Debbie. Looks like a lot of fun memories.

    1. Yes, we have over 30 years of memories attached to The Love Boat and seeing that “For Lease” sign in the window really was depressing! 🙁 My old house and high school have been torn down recently as well. Life goes on, but it’s too bad. Thanks for visiting.

  6. I can imagine you standing in front of the restaurant, not believing what you are seeing, feeling a loss in the pit of your stomachs and thinking, “This must be a mistake.” Yes, I have been there and it feels much like a loss. Great story Debbie

    1. You described our feelings exactly, Carol. It was such a shock! 🙁 Over 30 years of history. Sigh…..Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  7. I can understand how you must feel. When a place becomes such an important part of your memories and all those special occasions and moments in your lives it is difficult to see it close down. I hope you will soon find another lovely place there at Niagara to make your new memories 🙂 Different but new memories. It was a lovely read, Debbie! Full of nostalgia.

    1. Hi Beloo; It was a sad moment for us; over 30 years of memories! We will still enjoy visiting Niagara though. It’s beauty always delights. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the story.

    1. Yes; and it seems to be happening more and more. My old house and high school are gone too. Gets me every time I drive by there! 🙁 Thanks for visiting, Joyce.

  8. Aww, that’s so sad for you two, looking forward to a repeat visit. I’ve learned not to try to repeat a lot of “favorites” that are more than a couple years old. Too many hard economy changes.

    It changes the old memories to see a place run down OR so over-developed that it doesn’t resemble a quaint memory.

    1. It was really hard to accept, Sammy! 🙁 It had been “our place” for more than 30 years and was always a good experience. Even though it looked a bit run down the last time, the food was still superb. Life goes on, though. Sigh……Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Ah Debbie, this happens so often I quit having favorite restaurants! What kills me is these places are always packed, an hour wait to get in, then BAM! Doors closed, empty! WTF?!?
    Sorry about your favorite place, you had a lot of history there…very sad.

    1. Welcome to The Den, Joe. 🙂 Yes, no point getting attached to a restaurant these days, It’s really sad when you have a personal relationship with the owners for over 30 years and then it’s gone – just like that. We were in total shock! Thanks for visiting.

  10. Ah, the end of an era Debbie!

    Sorry that this had to happen but it sounds like either the ones it was passed down to either didn’t know how to run the business properly or they just didn’t care as much. So sad.

    I’ve seen my share of favorite establishments bite the dust too and that’s not fun at all. I know things change but some don’t really need to.

    Hope you find a new hangout!


    1. Hi Adrienne; Sadly, it does seem as if the third generation wasn’t as dedicated. I know for sure that the father and son both put their hearts and souls into the Love Boat. Things are always changing and not necessarily for the better, it seems. Thanks for dropping by and have a great week. 🙂

  11. You can always go to that new huge casino, to cry your blues away. lol
    I love Niagara Falls, last time I was there, we went on “The Maid of the Mist” what a wonderful experience. Niagara Falls a wonder of the world. Sorry to hear about your favourite eatery. Shame, nothing stays the same isn’t it?

    1. Thanks for visiting, Michael. Not sure a casino is good for cheering you up! I never win anything and hate to see hard-earned money go down the drain like that. LOL Niagara Falls is one of our favourite places and we go there often, because it’s so close by. Losing “our” place was quite a blow and it won’t ever be quite the same now. Sigh……my old house was torn down recently, too. Progress – bah!

    1. Hi Clowie; Niagara Falls has nice parks too; perfect for dogs! 🙂 Yes, the Love Boat was a great place. Lots of memories. Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

  12. I only live about 2 hours away from the Canadian niagra falls, so have been there plenty of times. Yet it is usually in the span of years and every time I have gone there there is something new happening! Did you guys go on the maid of the mist?

    1. Hi Kirby; Yes, there’s always something going on at Niagara Falls. We didn’t go on Maid of the Mist this time, but, have done that many years ago. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  13. Sorry about the Love Boat. It’s like going back to your hometown and discovering that they’ve torn down your high school…even if you didn’t like high school! And was Kris Kristofferson ever really that young–and isn’t that Rita Coolidge next to him? (Of course, were any of us ever really that young?)

    1. It was quite a blow and I’m still stunned! 🙁 We had a history there spanning almost 40 years! That song also holds some special memories and yes indeed, we were ALL THAT YOUNG at one time. 😉 (Rita was in the video, too.)

  14. Really feel for you, Debbie, and can relate to this story – we recently visited a local town we hadn’t been to for several months and we were absolutely devastated to find that lots of the shops we used to visit had shut down. The recession here is still in full swing, and it’s very distressing to see so many businesses fold.

    Really sorry you’ve lost this favourite haunt – but, as you say, life goes on 🙂


    1. It’s really sad what this miserable economy has done to everyone, isn’t it Sue? One can’t help being a little nostalgic and sad. The Love Boat was a big part of our lives for almost 40 years. Life does go on, but, I feel that I’ve lost a little piece of my heart now. Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 🙂

  15. So sorry to hear you lost your favorite restaurant. It’s sad to see a restaurant that’s been around for years suddenly go under.

    It reminds me of a little whole in the wall here in Houston. It’s a little mexican restaurant ran by a family. It’s bee around for over 50 years and still going. It’s never changed or grew, since it only seats about 16 you have to get there early if you want to eat.

    It’s like you said, it’s the food and the hospitality that keeps you going back. I know I’ll be sad the day this place closes. The owner has since passed away and his wife and daughter is now running it. And it does feel good when they remember you 🙂

    I hope you find a new place to create new memories! 🙂

    1. Hi Corina; Sounds like you enjoy that Mexican restaurant a lot. 🙂 We had some of our most memorable times at the Love Boat, spanning almost 40 years. Will take us awhile to wrap our heads around its closure. Hubby was talking to the owner’s cousin yesterday, and apparently it was just getting to be too much of chore to keep it going. The Niagara Falls economy hasn’t been doing so well the last few years. He still owns the building and the hotel next door, so, he can retire comfortably. Don’t think we’ll EVER find a place like that again, but, we’ll certainly keep looking. Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 🙂

  16. That is sad, some of mom’s favorite places are no more or have new owners and are nothing like they used to be, heck one of her biggest hangouts as a kid was detonated, not just closed but reduced to a pile of rubble. It is sad but I guess life goes on.

    1. Detonated! That would be incredibly sad, Emma. 🙁 Yes, things change all the time and life goes on, but, I can’t help being a little nostalgic about it. Thanks for visiting.

  17. Oh wow, major bummer Debbie. I’m sure that was a blow. So sad to see places that have been around for years, close for whatever reason. Hope you still made the best of your trip.

    1. That one was a real shocker, Bren! We have almost 40 years worth of memories there. 🙁 Yes, we still had a nice little getaway, despite that. Thanks and have a great week. 🙂

  18. It’s always sad to see when a business that’s been around a long time disappears. Recently I’ve seen pictures of an amusement park that once was in our area, and I was filled with sadness as I had so many good memories there as a kid. I know things must change but does everything good have to disappear too? I hope you find a new place that will start new memories for you.

    1. Hi Lisa; It is sad to see wonderful places just disappear over time. As you said, we have many wonderful memories, at least. It would be difficult to find another place like The Love Boat and I’m really shaken by this. 🙁 Ah well, life goes on……ever-changing. Thanks for visiting.