Weekly Reflections: People Brought Character and Culture to Peace River – Part 69


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As mentioned at the end of the more recent Ponderings tale – “As with a delicious meal at a Chinese restaurant, there is always an appetite for more.” There was a hint that the story would continue in these Reflections. So, as promised, here it is with some information from the past offer as the usual preamble.

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As we learned from the continuing story of Chinese restaurants in this part of the country, Charlie (Jer Bark Kue) and Seto Der Guey entered catering with Dick Sui (Dan Soo?) At the Royal Café. Tom Guey’s father, Jr., Tommy Der Sr., was the maker of the restaurant’s specialty soup – oxtail and barley. He did it two or three times a week – it was popular and Johnny’s Sausage, [formerly Grimm, Bauman business] gave the restaurant free oxtails. “What is now the most expensive part of the animal was donated back then,” said Tom Jr.

Tommy Sr., after earning a post-secondary education at Vancouver Tech in 1956, moved to Edmonton to start the Montrose Grocery Store in 1958. Three years later, in 1961, Tommy Sr. married Jenny Lee, whose father had opened its own grocery store. store near Bonnie Doon mall.

The Guey family is growing – Thomas Der Guey, born in 1961, and Terry and Velmer in 1963 and 1965 respectively. The family moved to Peace River in July 1974, when Tommy Sr. teamed up with Benny Wing and Jack Lock at the Sun Café. In 1976 he went on his own to buy the Dog House Drive-in on Main Street —9716-100 St., which he operated until 1991. He also bought the Bee-Hive Drive-in, Grimshaw from Dennis Aspeslet. , and partnered with Benny and Jan Wing in 1981. Eventually, the Wings became the primary owners. Then the Mahs possessed him until health issues got involved. It was time for Guey’s sons, Tom Jr. and Terry, to take over, to sell it after a year to John and Nick Hellyer.

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Back to the doghouse – your scribe remembers it well, having discovered it in the mid-1980s while traveling from Edmonton to the West Coast in the back of a motorcycle. What locals then called Six Foot Davis Campground, became their home for the night. The need for food to relieve an incipient migraine meant running around town. The first restaurant spotted – the Dog House. A hot dog and fries did the trick – the headaches were finally gone and gone – forever grateful.

As noted in a previous Ponderings, Betty McMillan remembered Chong’s Café. In addition, she mentioned Sue Gee Sun’s restaurant destroyed by fire in 1932. On February 5, 1932, the Peace River Record reported the voracious $ 50,000 fire that took away not only the restaurant, but several other businesses as well. “After being virtually immune to serious or costly fires for many years, the town was visited by the fire demon on Saturday afternoon and before it could be brought under control it destroyed the Kaufman Block n ° 2; Boyd Theater; Trainer material [“largest store in town”]; Clothing by TR Wilson; Sue Gee Sun’s Restaurant; Wong Lee laundry; EE Orr jewelry; and the Simoneau tinsmith shop.

It all started at 2 p.m., discovered in the ceiling of the Boyd Theater, but was too early for the “little chemical [extinguisher]Used by Lee Boyd, who sounded the alert to which volunteer firefighters responded in “severe weather”. “But, due to the frame construction of the [burning] building, it was doomed to destruction.

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Interspersed with cafes and restaurants, which we have heard of before, there is one operated by Archie Wong from April 1923 in the Phanz building on Main Street, near the corner of 100 Street and 100 Avenue. Before becoming a restaurant owner, Archie “former chef [and special constable] to the local RCMP [actually, probably Alberta Provincial Police as they served – 1917-1932] Barracks – South End of Peace River Street, 99.

A woman with a long family history in the restaurant and hospitality industry in Fairview passed away on October 5, 2009, at the age of 102. Fay Wing Woo Der was born in China, July 7, 1907. She married Kim Lin Der, but was unable to move to be with her husband until 1949 – Canada’s immigration policies, which go back for years 1920, allowed Chinese men, but not Chinese women, to immigrate to Canada until 1949, even if their husbands were able to do so – we’ll discuss that to learn more later.

While Kim waited for Fay, he moved his Queen’s Hotel – a restaurant and boarding house, from Waterhole to by the railroad tracks in Fairview – about four miles north. The relocation of the hotel and other businesses was part of the community’s relocation plan in 1928 to be better situated for commerce alongside the railroad, originally planned for Waterhole.

According to the Fairview Heart of Gold history book – “It is clear, however, that our ancestors believed Fairview was really ‘born’ in 1928 when the Waterhole pioneers picked up and moved the lock, stock, and barrel to this site for access to the railroad. “

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After the two Ders settled in, they had two children – James and his daughter Soo Ching (Betty). James became a successful businessman in Fairview with the Grand Café – later known as the Dragon Inn from which he was able to support community and sporting events.

In addition to the Chinese people and restaurants already mentioned, there were many more to recognize. Among them, some suggested George and Lucky’s to Berwyn, however, there does not appear to be any confirmation that it was a Chinese restaurant. Then there’s Darr’s Café in Hines Creek, operated by Jimmie Darr.

One of the many little-known, but interesting, facts about Chinese food served in early Chinese restaurants in Canada and Alberta – it was generally Western dishes to satisfy the Western palate. At first, when you saw a restaurant advertised as Chinese, it referred to the owner of the establishment rather than the food served. Slowly, the chefs teased the palates of their diners by introducing modified authentic Chinese cuisine. Dishes such as ginger beef, pineapple chicken meatballs, sweet and sour pork, spring rolls, fried rice and chop suey have started to appear on their menus. Ginger Beef was invented and first placed on a Chinese restaurant menu and plate in the 1970s by Calgary chef George Wong of the Silver Inn, Calgary.

Although the Western version of Chinese cuisine is more prevalent, some restaurants also offer original dishes, such as Kung Pao chicken, lemon chicken, stir-fried noodles and pork dumplings, according to someone who ate these. offers. As she noted, after tasting the ‘real thing’ in Chinese cuisine: “In awe of the amount of extremely limited and unknown ingredients available all those years ago, these creative Chinese immigrants were able to recreate a semblance of those dishes that have become as inherently ‘Prairie’ as beef and potatoes.

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Speaking of food, it’s hard to imagine a Chinese meal without tea to accompany it. On May 14, 2011, at the Museum, as part of the Royal Alberta Museum’s traveling exhibition, Chop Suey on the Prairies, a Reflection on Chinese Restaurants in Alberta, was an opportunity to taste various teas. Wend Wagner from ZenSpa, spoke about the art of drinking – sipping and serving tea in China, as well as history and culture. She offered tastings of teas from China, Korea and Japan.

Ponderings tea time returns next time.

More information on Book 2 Peace River Remembers – email [email protected] or the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Historical Society Facebook page.

Sources: Peace River remembers, Jack Coulter, Frank Richardson; Turning the Pages of Time – History of Nampa and the surrounding districts; The files of the Peace River Museum, the Archives and the Mackenzie Center; Peace River Record-Gazette; Peace River Standard; Coots, Codgers and Curmudgeons – Hal C. Sisson and Dwayne W. Rowe; Edmonton Journal; Globe and Mail; Media of the West

Beth Wilkins is a researcher at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Center.

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