Royal Oak pubs in Whitby re-branded as ‘Oak and Ale’


Published April 2, 2024 at 8:55 am

Royal Oak
The Royal Oak pubs in Whitby are now re-branded as the Oak and Ale

After 14 years on Taunton Road and a dozen by the lake at Whitby Shores as part of the Ottawa-based Royal Oak group,’ two Whitby pubs will be going it alone this month, rebranded as the Oak and Ale.

Owner Matt Cardwell, a Whitby Councillor and hockey legend in the town, said the long-standing pubs are now “100 per cent locally owned and operated” and he “couldn’t be more thrilled with the opportunity”

Cardwell, who was elected as the West Ward Councillor in 2022 after two near misses in the previous two municipal elections, said it was a “privilege” being part of the Royal Oak family but re-opening (after a one-day closure Monday to ‘re-brand’) Tuesday as the Oak and Ale was an opportunity he couldn’t pass on.

As two of 14 Royal Oak locations – and the only two outside Ottawa – Cardwell believed it was “the right time” to branch out with the Oak and Ale and celebrate “new beginnings.”

“While the name is changing, who and what we are will remain the same. Both Oak and Ale locations will continue to be warm, inviting and welcoming. We’re a place to celebrate, enjoy food, friendly conversations, watch games, or hang out with friends,” Cardwell said. “The first 14 years were a blast, and we’re looking forward to what the future may bring.”

Cardwell, who played minor professional hockey for a few years after a three-year career with York University, knows a thing or two about new beginnings, as he transitioned from the pros to the re-born Whitby Dunlops senior hockey club in 2004, helping the former world champions to three straight league titles and two straight Allan Cup national championship finals (2006, 2007) before hanging up his skates and turning to business.

Matt Cardwell as a Whitby Dunlop

Cardwell bought the Royal Oak in the Taunton Gardens plaza in Whitby’s north end in 2012. He added the Whitby Shores location two years later.

Honoured by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as an ‘Emerging Leader’ in 2015 for his charitable work with his pubs and named ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the Whitby Chamber of Commerce in 2012, Cardwell finally earned his spot on Town Council in the 2022 election on his third try.

The grand opening for the Oak and Ale will be Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Whitby Shores location.

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