It’s back! I has been 3 years since I published my last Local History Advent Calendar! So much has happened since that last time—including the publication of my first book, Mount Pleasant Stories—that I figured it was about time to dust off the Local History Advent Calendar once again. Similar to a regular advent calendar but instead of chocolate treats, each day you “open” a new historical treat. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder– 24 facts or stories about local history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.
One of the most unassuming buildings in Mount Pleasant, the J.F. Clark building (2313 Main Street) has a surprisingly huge historic presence. Built in 1892, it is Mount Pleasant’s oldest surviving commercial/residential building. Its boomtown front, also called a false front, is the predominant architectural feature of the building. It hides a pitched roof which is visible from the rear of the building.
James F. Clark built this 2-storey structure for his grocery business in operation from 1892 until 1897. Later, from 1918 to 1950 the building was home to Arthur Frith & Co. purveyor of “Up-to-Date Men’s and Boys’ Furnishings, Hats, Boots and Shoes”.
Since the 1950s, the building has housed a series of restaurants and cafes. Starting with Edward’s Lunch Bar in 1952 up to the current occupant, Nirvana Restaurant. In fact, Nirvana is the latest in a string of Indian cuisine restaurants–starting with Maharaja Restaurant, followed by India’s Himalaya Restaurant–that have been operating out of the J.F. Clark building since 1971.
This venerable building is an integral part of the historic streetscape along the west side of Main Street and provides a window to the past and the original Mount Pleasant village.
A fire in August of this year caused significant damage to Nirvana causing the restaurant to close temporarily. Four months later and they are still closed but all indications are that they will eventually reopen.
You can find this and other Mount Pleasant stories in my walking tour book, Mount Pleasant Stories. Copies are available for purchase in Mount Pleasant at Pulpfiction Books – 2422 Main Street and in Chinatown at Massy Books – 229 E Georgia St. It makes a great gift or stocking stuffer for your favourite local history buff!