Manufacturer: Grindley Hotelware Company – England
User: Panama Cafe – Victoria, British Colombia
Distributor: Cassidy's Ltd.
Date of cup: 1940
Notes: From the University of Victoria's Chinatown Collection: "Chan Dun came to Victoria in 1893 from Toysan, when he was sixteen. A decade later, he got into business by investing as a partner in a grocery store with a relative. In 1902, he started operating a series of cafes with partners. These restaurants catered to working class white Victorians and were located near Broad and Johnson Streets. Chan Dun founded the Panama Cafe in 1917 at 536 Johnson Street. It was below the Panama Hotel, a local brothel.
"Because of a lack of customers at the Johnson Street location, the Panama Cafe moved to its last location at 1407 Government Street in 1930. This building was formerly the Empress Theatre where Chinese operas had been staged, lasting up to four hours. During these performances, vendors sold tea, pastries, candy and peanuts. Chan Dun's friends from Chinatown thought that moving to a larger building during the Depression was not a good idea, but the restaurant continued to operate on Government Street for over thirty more years.
"The Panama was a family business as Chan Dun's wife Koo Ching Lim (1891-1980) and their twelve children (four daughters and eight sons), worked there. This restaurant finally closed in 1967, after fifty years of serving western food in Victoria."
White body cup in Grindley's Duraline – Super Vitrified. There is a dark green stripe around the top, followed by a green pinstripe. Underneath these two stripes are the words "Panama Cafe," in a green script font. Indented on the next line are the words " Victoria B.C." in a matching green font. Then there is another green pinstripe running around the cup slightly below the middle.
University of Victoria's Chinatown Collection – history of the restaurant
Cup photos (green): Rich D Bauer
Cup photo (red): Dennis Neumann
Butter pat photo: Brad Payne
Author: Ed Phillips