Ahhhh Atherley Arms (aka The First) – the strip club with a colourful past that you could hit on your way to or from the casino.
The Arms has had a hell of a life …
It started out as a hotel for travellers and local lumber workers. Sitting on the outskirts of town, it was also the only place to legally grab a drink until the end of Orillia’s prohibition in 1955.
Later it became a local hot spot and a venue for live music, hosting many popular Canadian artists, including Gordon Lightfoot and David Wilcox. It continued to host live shows even after it became a strip club in the 1990s and was rumoured to have some of the best burgers in the area. (We’ll have to take the word of those brave enough to eat there.)
Over the next several years, the Arms then went on to lose their liquor license multiple times, usually due to over serving. Rumours have it that didn’t stop them from serving. And of course there were the scandalous stories that regularly came out of the bar. The biggest of which caused them to permanently shut down.
In 2010, The First closed their doors following a $3.1 million dollar judgement against the owners. The judgement was resulted from the wrongful death of dentist Dr David Dumenucu in 2004.
Dumenucu was visiting the club while on a golf trip with a large group of friends. Reports state that a fight broke out in the strip club. The altercation spilled outside and the doctor died when he fell down and hit his head off the pavement.
Nothing has happened at the abandoned property since. Some locals joke about opening the place again and trying to restore the strip club to its former glory.
Yeah … The way this place looks, it’s not gonna happen.
Abandoned Urbex Canada takes you through the Arms and goes on to tell a lot about the history of the bar.