I’ve been making trips to north central Ontario for nearly 50 years, almost all of them via highway 11. During that time, I have passed by a curious anomaly that remains to this day: A burger place that was in business for a short time in the early to mid seventies. It shut down after two to three years, I think, but was never demolished or replaced by another business. On the contrary, all of its signs still remain in good repair, and the building itself has not been allowed to deteriorate. Within the last couple of years, it’s been graced with a new paint job (true to original colours), and occasionally shows signs of occupation.
For the back story to this, and some pictures, visit https://secret-lifeof.com/2018/07/16/haraview-burgers/
I have stopped there a couple of times, but have not seen anyone about. I plan to try once more, and soon, as several readers have exhibited curiosity about it and one person in particular has offered his own excellent theory as to its history. He also requested that if I knew anything further, or could give him any kind of a back story relating to the area, he would appreciate it. And so, here goes:
In the early 70’s, a group consisting of myself and a few friends began camping on the weekends at a secluded resort by the name of Kahshe Motel and Trailer Park. It was just a few minutes up the highway from Haraview. On the highway between these two locations was a restaurant known as The Suomi. It was there that I met the girl who was to be my future wife. She was a waitress, and, unbeknownst to me, was staying in a cabin at Kahshe. I will spare you the details until another time, but will simply say that we were married within three months of meeting each other. She left her job there, and we made our first home in Mississauga. That was nearly 43 years ago.
In the first years of our marriage, we returned occasionally to Kahshe and camped there, for the park was still beautiful and well kept and we had some fond memories of it. Some years after that, The Suomi Restaurant changed hands, and became The Grand. Sadly, within a very short time, a gas leak caused the whole building to explode. It was completely demolished. No one was hurt, as it was closed at the time.
Many businesses have come and gone along the highway during those forty odd years. The Sundial restaurant was always a favourite. It was shuttered for many years, but has been rebuilt and opened up under new ownership. For a long time, highway 11 was not divided, and businesses were more prosperous, being as they got traffic from both directions. But, with increasing volume, the undivided highway became the site of many terrible crashes resulting from vehicles attempting to make left turns. And so, the barriers went up. I am sure that lives were saved, but sadly some of the highway businesses did not survive.
As to Haraview Burgers, my plan is to stop there once again, and, if no one is about, I will leave a prepared note to the owners, letting them know that I have written somewhat of a story about the place, and giving them my contact details in case they see fit to communicate.
Thanks for reading, and I will be sure to publish any updates as I receive them.
Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on Spillwords.com, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.