In the building that now houses a clothing store, LA Outfitters, legendary NHL goalie Johnny Bower operated a coffee shop, or what he refers to as a “hamburger joint” in the early 1950s. In his autobiography, The China Wall, he reports his specialty, Bower’s Big Boy hamburger sold for 25 cents, bacon and eggs were 76 cents and coffee was 10 cents.
He enjoyed both cooking in the back and the fun young people who ate and played the juke box. Johnny, while working on the Golf Course, met Nancy, who became his wife. He spent many happy hours golfing and fishing with Gordie Howe, another NHL legend who spent summers in the Park during the same years.
In his forward to The China Wall, Gordie Howe talks about fishing at Waskesiu with Johnny and cooking up their catch at the restaurant.
“We both loved to get out on the lake and fish, mostly for northern pike. On one occasion, John got so darn excited when he caught a fish, he tried to grab it with his hands. They’re so slippery, and this one time, he put his rod down and the son of a gun jumped right out of his hand and back into the water, taking the rod with him. Johnny had this weird look on his face and I found out he’d borrowed the rod from his neighbour. Next thing I know, he’s undressing and getting ready to jump in the ice cold water to go after it. That was the most exciting moment we ever had on the boat. After we came back in from the lake, we’d usually go to Johnny’s restaurant, and if we’d caught any fish, he’d cook them up for us."
History greets you at every turn in Waskesiu.
Around the townsite you will encounter signs marking heritage buildings and places of interest from the past. Use the links below the map to connect to archival photos, historical facts, and entertaining stories connected to that place.
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