The History of ‘Black Dog Video’

A brief History of Black Dog.

Hmmm….where to start……

It was the summer of 2004 and Brian was out in Vancouver visiting his older and sometimes wiser brother Darren. Darren’s story, goes something like this………After being repeatedly fired from every job that he somehow managed to get in the first place, Darren decided to open a little video store in Vancouver. He begged and borrowed to get his store near completion way back in 1996…. Nearing the open, the store was still unnamed…..then, while enjoying a tall cold glass of lemonade on the front porch, Darren found his inspiration as his dog Gilmore came into view. Gilmore is a dog…..Gilmore is also black….so Darren, being the creative genius that he is came up with the name Black Dog Video. Now, eight years later, Black Dog Video Vancouver has established itself as Vancouver’s premiere location for alternative film. And Darren has established himself as a firm believer in not working too hard for a living.

Back to the summer of 2004….so Brian was in Vancouver for a visit. As often happens when two brothers meet up, they ended up in a local pub fighting a losing battle against a keg of Guinness. Well, Brian had been talking for years about setting up a Black Dog in Toronto, as he knew just the neighborhood that needed it. Finally Darren could take no more of his brothers blabbering when he said “if you want to set up a store in Toronto, I will gladly help you.”

Fast forward 1 month later when Brian is walking home from his corporate 9-5 when he spies the perfect store front for rent, on the perfect street, right in his neighborhood. So of course he panics and does nothing for about 2 weeks thinking that someone else would scoop up the store. Finally one day after another torturous loss in the Guinness Wars Jeff, Brian’s childhood friend and roommate enters the story. “That’s it, I’m opening the store”, exclaimed Brian. Brian then asked Jeff if he would like to manage the shop in the daytime. Thinking it would be the perfect fit for Jeff, who was pursuing his career in the Toronto Comedy scene, and Jeff, knowing a good thing when he sees it, turned as quickly as Jessie James and fired back “Make me a partner and I am in….”

Three months, 12 cases of beer, a few pizza’s and lungs full of drywall dust and the boys were on their way to having something resembling a store…With their good friend Sean leading the charge while Tony kept an eye on things from his couch, coupled with help from family and friends, the renovations were completed almost on time…They were bringing in a few things from outside on the night of January 28, 2004 when Brian forgot to lock the door behind him. Four people walked in and asked tentatively “Are you open?”

“Sure we are!” was the reply, followed by a hushed, “Do you know how to turn the computer on?” — Black Dog Video Toronto was born !!

That night the store did $38 in rentals and Brian could be heard gently sobbing in the basement. The store was officially launched on February 28th at our ‘Come meet our mother’s’ Grand opening party. The party was a huge success and even the boys in blue decided to drop by (gulp!). Thanks to all of you who came out to lend your support!

With the first three months under our belt we know we are still the new dog on the block, but the response has been tremendous. And like anything else, we will continue to have our ups and downs and we grow but rest assured that we shall never give up, never surrender, in our continuing to search to bring you the most entertaining, intelligent and interesting films that we can find. So thank you again, and drop by the store soon.

Brian and Jeff

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