The Neumann Collection


Leonard's Cafe eBay creamer find

Posted by neumann32044 on October 4, 2013 at 12:50 AM

This is the second creamer that I spotted online from the same seller as my St. Francis Hotel creamer, and it was only a stroke of luck (and memory!) that I bid on this creamer in the first place.  I bought it because at a past collectors club meeting, a fellow collector brought in the exact creamer and a matching butterpat that he dug up at a site someplace in Vancouver.  Other than that, it has no identifying marks on it, and doesn't specify what kind of business its from!  Leonard's was a cafe in downtown Vancouver.

Leonard's Cafe creamer featuring a dog with a bird in it's mouth.  I've been unable to find any records of why a dog would feature so prominently.  This is the fourth design for this cafe that I am aware of.

There isn't a lot of information available online about this business, so I've been unable to discover a lot of reliable information about it.  I believe that it was first started by a man named Clayton Leonard, which I learned through extensive searching of the Vancouver Archives website.  They also have some family photos of an owner in the 1930s, the Michas family, but the early years are shrouded in mystery.  I also have had no luck with early city directories.  What I have found seems inconclusive, unless the cafe moved to different locations over the years, or the street names have changed.  I've seen references to the restaurant being near Granville and Hastings, and also being on West Pender.

Leonard's Cafe postcard found online.  The writing of the cafe name on the creamer above matches exactly to the writing on the cafe windows!

Apparently, Leonard's was also the scene of a dine-and-dash that made the papers in the 1920s.  A well dressed group of eight men entered the restaurant, and had their meal.  When they were finished, they cheque was brought to the cashier.  The cashier was then told to send the bill to the mayor's office!

Leonard's cafe street scene in 1928, a few years after the famous dine-and-dash.

The cafe must have moved sometime in the 1930's because by around 1940, it had disappeared from the block!

The former Leonard's Cafe location seems to have been replaced by the Melrose Cafe in this image, from around 1940.

Further digging in a 1944 directory shows the cafe at 831 Granville St, no longer at its location on West Hastings.  Sometime later, the cafe moved to the 700 block of West Pender, and I've been unable to find any images of its last two locations.  Sadly, the cafe ended as so many others, with a fire.

Winnipeg Free Press December 18, 1961

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