Monday, February 14, 2011

Chop Suey on the Prairies: A Travelling Exhibit from the Royal Alberta Museum

From the Royal Alberta Museum: "There are more Chinese restaurants in North America than there are fast food outlets combined. They range in size and grandeur from upscale banquet halls serving over 500 people to family-run, hole-in-the-wall cafés where the parents cook and serve while the children do homework or clean vegetables in the corner. Chinese restaurants have become so much a part of our landscape that it is hard to imagine a time when they were considered exotic.

All across the prairies, Chinese restaurants can be found in almost every town and hamlet. While the families that have run these restaurants may have changed over the years, the restaurants remain and have become indispensable centres of small town life."

The Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre's newest exhibit will be a travelling exhibit from the Royal Alberta Museum. From March to May 2011, we will be hosting "Chop Suey on the Prairies: A Reflection on Chinese Restaurants". This exhibit will feature stories and artifacts from restaurants across Alberta with a special focus on the restaurants in the Peace Region.

In conjunction with the exhibit, we at the Museum would like to gather the social and cultural history of our own local Chinese restaurants, grocery stores and laundries. Do you remember the Royal Café in Grimshaw, Geo. & Lucky’s in Berwyn, Joe Hong’s in Manning and Frank Lock with the Sun Cafe in Peace River; the Golden Palace, Chong’s Café and the Star Café? Do you remember the proprietors Jack Lock, Jimmie Darr, Tom Guey, Benny Wing, Dan Der and their families? Jot down your memories of going to eat the best ice cream, or the tastiest sweet and sour pork ribs, or was it the ginger beef? Maybe it was the exotic colours of the decor you remember.

There are many ways to submit your memories:

We look forward to reading and sharing your reminisces!


Stella Edgar said...

I remember in the '30s when we arrived in Notekewin we would go there to warm up around his fire and have a hot drink before going to school. Later my sister Betsy worked for Joe Hong after school and I stayed with her. I remember him being so kind to everybody. He never locked his door. People would just sleep around his stove if there was a storm and couldn't get home. He never turned anyone away and he ran a successful restaurant. Stella (Houle) Edgar

Christopher Lord said...

I'm researching some old papers I found, and came across the Star Café. Apparently my great grandmother Rose Madsen (maiden name St. Germain) helped out (possibly ran) the cafe around (after) 1953.