Caribou Diner

The Caribou Motel & Diner, located on busy highway 11 between Barrie and Orillia opened in the early 1950's.

This establishment welcomed the weary or hungry traveler to or from their cottages in the Muskokas.

Architecturally, the over all symmetry, stepped ziggurat roof lines, glass block curved edges and corners strongly suggests deference to Streamline Moderne of the Art Deco style.

The property physically consists of a a two-storey structure containing the diner, with rooms above attached to a typical "I" line of additional rooms. The manager's apartment may have been added on at a latter date centered above on the "I" line.

Motel guests were treated to the convenience of an indoor pool and hot-tub within a hangar-like structure.

A screen door fitted on the kitchen offered little respite from the heat of the fryers.

More recently, the bulk of the motel rooms were converted to apartments. The restaurant business sustained and was last operated as Quigley's Diner Pub & Pizza. In addition to this, smaller commerical ventures made use of the property including the unoriginally-named 'Hair Dressers'.

The tenants were turned out with the closure of the diner in 2002. Currently, Petro Plus operates a gas bar out, strategically located just north of 'gasoline alley'.

Streamline Moderne expression is carried through to the diner with choice of colour, sweeping lines and decorative elements.

Although the environment of the restaurant recommends itself well to the traveling diner, a series of fugly exterior renovations had defaced a fair measure of the original work.

Layers of grease around the grill hood is the only evidence left of the thousands of meals once cooked here.

I imagine that this would be the room to the rear of the kitchen where apprended 'dine & dashers' were brought.

The building is scheduled to be demolished in April, 2007 to make way for a service center featuring a Wendy's restaurant.

1 comment:

Shakra said...

Thank-you for your thoughtful review of the Caribou Motel and Restaurant that my parents built when I was two years around 1954. The Caribou was a phenomenon and was full of energy and imagination. My father built the first indoor swimming pool,had the first liquor license, deep fried chicken and even a stuffed moose. I only wish I knew how to send you some images of what it looked like before it lost its soul. It was an experiment in living and being otherwise to what was either customary or deemed righteous.