A flyby thanks to three local pilots crowned the 80th anniversary celebrations at Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe last week.
The restaurant, a fixture on the North Peninsula food scene since Canadians marched off to the Second World War, has seen much change over the years, although it maintains its charm as a time capsule, remembering the pilots and great aviation machines of yesteryear.
Around 85 people came to help celebrate on July 27 and the party stretched into the night, where a band played for guests and the owners gave speeches thanking their long-serving staff and telling guests the history of the business. Radio Sidney also broadcast the event including interviews with veterans.
Mary’s was founded in 1939 by a man only known as Mr. Green, who sited the business 40 paces from the airport’s front gate, naming it after his step-daughter, Mary Chapman. During the Second World War, Canadian, Australian and British servicemen lined up patiently to sample the 50-cent plates of bacon and eggs. Over the years, the business changed hands many times and was almost torn down and turned into houses in the late 1980s.
Jack and Sean McNeill then bought it and added its now familiar aviation decor. It was at this time that Mary’s became Mary’s Blue Moon after the McNeills decided to combine its name with another local restaurant that had been popular in the past. The final touch came from Jack’s daughter Tani, whose interest in numerology persuaded them to add an extra letter, as she said this would bring luck. Thus Mary’s Blue Moon acquired a Gallic twang and became Mary’s Bleue Moon. Jack McNeill died in 2017, not living to see the 80-year milestone but his legacy lives on as he was posthumously inducted into the BC Aviation Hall of Fame in July 2019.
After the celebrations died down, co-owner Nicola Politano turned her thoughts to the future, and the next 80 years.
“My hope for the future is the customers keep coming in and enjoying the history and good food,” she said.