Redwood Performance Group

Bobby Taylor passed away this past Sunday. We were fortunate to know him for the last 10 years through a very special connection, he started as our landlord and became our friend.

Like most Canadians, we were inspired and thrilled with Bobby Taylor’s legendary prowess, unmatched grit, and breathtaking talent as one of the CFL’s leading receivers. There is little we can add to his well-earned accolades as one of Canada’s most outstanding athletes. His stats say it all. Every time we talked, we learnt a bit more about him. What we can add, however, is our personal experience with Bobby, which, to us, was equally impressive and meaningful.

Redwood Performance Group was looking for new corporate offices, and we were checking out recently available property above Toronto’s iconic Black Bull Tavern on Queen West.

We loved the space. Of course, we were delighted to know that the property was owned by none other than living legend Bobby Taylor! As the conversations became more serious, we sat down with Bobby and his son, Rob to review the lease. Everything looked great – except for one clause – and it was a deal breaker.

The lease stated that no pets were allowed, which obviously wouldn’t work for a company of dog lovers who often brought their pets to work. When I pointed this out, I expected pushback from Bobby. After all, why would a gruff ex-football star accommodate our request for pets?

It turned out that our expectations were totally groundless. Bobby said emphatically that he loved dogs and instructed his lawyer to remove the clause. It was a great start to a wonderful relationship, and things only got better from there.

Over the ensuing years, we got to know Bobby and Rob well. He was beyond fair as a landlord – especially during the difficult pandemic years. More importantly, he became a dear and valued friend.

We were always warmly greeted at the Black Bull restaurant– so much so that we referred to it as our second boardroom. You couldn’t help but smile inside when you saw Bobby overseeing the restaurant. The sports icon being continually greeted by adoring fans. Being thanked for the beautiful football memories he gave them. He always acknowledged and appreciated their remembering. All the while giving them an experience they would never forget.

And maybe that’s the essence of Bobby Taylor. He touched people in a way that made him unforgettable. The sports world won’t forget his athletic prowess, balanced by a strong sense of sportsmanship. His many friends won’t forget his modesty, sincerity, and loyalty. And we won’t forget a business relationship that blossomed into a beautiful relationship.

Bobby, you touched us in a way that few people have. You did it by being exactly who you were. An incredible athlete, a fair and principled landlord, and a cherished friend.  In a word, unforgettable.