John Wilkins died peacefully at Michael Garron Hospital on March 26, 2021 after suffering a
massive stroke the week prior, during a snooze on the couch. Anyone who knew him knew this
is the way he wanted to go!
His 70 years of life were full. He was born in Edmonton, London, UK and began working in a
hotel at age 16. After a brief stint running catering gigs, including garden parties at “Buck
House,” he moved into management and soon became an area manager for EMI Records
restaurants, managing 14 restaurants in central London. At age 27, he and his wife moved to
Toronto and opened Peppercorns at Sheppard and Yonge. Later, he and partners opened the
Victoria & Albert Pub, Maxwells Mix, and the Spruce Goose Brew Pub. John felt best when he
was working, productive, and had a reason to get up in the morning. He was confident,
competitive, fiercely independent, liked to take risks, and never grew tired of bargaining for a
In his 40’s, he moved from North York further south, eventually settling near the Danforth,
where he switched to consulting and then the construction side of the restaurant industry. John
became a familiar face at the pubs and restaurants in Greektown, this time as a customer.
John never took life too seriously but did consider himself “cool” in his own ‘open-shirt-hairy-
chested’ kind of way. John also never missed an opportunity to be outrageous, especially at
weddings and birthdays where his friends and family knew to expect he might take off his shirt,
bring gaudy gifts, or contribute a precious bottle of Asti Spumante. This was part of his British
humour and dry wit, most often channelling Fawlty Towers or Mr. Bean. John was also an
excellent cook, happy to cook for others anytime. At holidays, this often led to him cooking for
15+, at their house, using every pot and pan in the kitchen.
John Wilkins was a provider, a protector, and a fighter. He is survived by his two daughters,
Emma and Tess, whom he loved deeply and was very proud of.
There will be no memorial service. To mark his passing, we know Dad would be touched if you
would raise a glass in his honour and cherish all the fond and funny memories of him.