The Pilot was born "The Pilot Grill" in 1944 at its original location 800 Yonge Street, just
north of Bloor. The name of the bar was a tip of the cap to the heroic RCAF flyers of World War II.
During the Yonge Street era, The Pilot was a clubhouse, meeting place and sacred temple to artists, musicians and writers. The Spadina Eleven hung out here, Austin Clarke was inspired, Julie Christie awed. In those days The Pilot often cashed the artists' cheques from the nearby Issacs Gallery and the Carmen Lamanna Gallery just up the street. Lightfoot performed and Dylan met Robbie Robertson to recruit the Hawks as his back-up band here too.