Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

House of Chan: The history of a Toronto institution in pictures

The history of a Toronto institution in pictures.

1 of 14

For decades, the House of Chan has been a standby, a place to see and be seen on Eglinton Avenue West. When the Eglinton LRT is installed, the restaurant will be demolished to make way for an LRT exit.

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

2 of 14

The House of Chan opened in 1957 or 1958. Pictured, a menu from about 40 years ago next to a newer one.

Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

3 of 14

"If you were at a table, you were A-list, and if you were in the back room, you were either with a large group or you were the D-list." -- movie producer Barry Avrich on the "six degrees of Jewish geography" the average patron had to negotiate when eating at Chan.

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

4 of 14

Subgum chicken liver chop suey ($1.30) or beef with tomatoes ($1.15) -- there was something for everyone on the old Chan's menu.

Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 14

1971: The House of Chan as a teenager, seven years before Donald Lyons would buy it.

Moe Doiron/Ontario Archives

6 of 14

Prix fixe menu from an earlier incarnation of the House of Chan

Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

7 of 14

Traditionally a Chinese restaurant and steakhouse, House of Chan complements its turf with some surf, like this steamed lobster dinner on its current menu.

Fernando Morales/Fernando Morales/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

8 of 14

Penny Lyons , the current owner of the House of Chan restaurant, took the business over from her husband, Donny, when he passed away in 2009.

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

9 of 14

A portrait of Donald Lyons, former owner, hanging on the wall, at right, alongside a photo of one of the founding managing partners, Aaron Sokalsky, left.

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

10 of 14

"Who was Chan? Nobody! Chan really isn't a person. It just sounded Chinese." -- Penny Lyons on the restaurant's namesake

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

11 of 14

The House of Chan has long been a place for local celebrities and high rollers. Pictured, Donald Lyons, former Toronto Maple Leaf Darryl Sittler and Joey Lyons, 2009.

Moe Doiron/Moe Doiron/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

12 of 14

Donald Lyons, Ron Fisico (Stratus' husband), professional wrestler Trish Stratus and Joey Lyons.

Moe Doiron/Moe Doiron/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

13 of 14

Toronto Maple Leaf Dion Phaneuf, Joey Lyons and actress Elisha Cuthbert, 2011.

Moe Doiron/Moe Doiron/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

14 of 14

A portrait of Donald Lyons, the man who ran The House of Chan for 31 years, until his death in January, 2009. It hangs on the wall of the restaurant now.

Moe Doiron/Moe Doiron/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Report an error