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B.C. Royal Cafe

A deep delve into East Pender Street café mythology. B.C. Royal Café. Perhaps the oldest established, long-surviving café in Chinatown. Its earliest record of existence is 1925, surfacing in the previous location of the early '20s Canada Café (a bakery under the Yip Sang Ltd. umbrella of businesses, with operating partner and son Yip Kew Him) at 61 East Pender in the 1889 Wing Sang Building (built over a twelve year period). Here, the B.C. Royal Café serves the community for forty-one years, until its relocation in 1966 to 119 East Pender (formerly Canton Club with the Mang Loo Athletic Association upstairs, in the '50s), where it survives in style for another twenty-six years, until about 1992. It is owned and operated by the Wing Toy family from at least the 1930s. Run by Dean Toy in the '30s, and Don Toy in the '40s. Geen Soo Toy, wife Geen Suey Toy and Ting Oi Ching are proprietors from the 1950s into the later years at the 119 East Pender location. A primary Chinatown day and dinner restaurant. A very perky restaurant atmosphere that tinkles with family joy and serious order. For many of its later years, Gramma Toy works the till up front with a sure and keen fix on authority. She has shiny eyes that flicker up with quick wit and catch you looking around. Widow and esteemed elder. She is the symbol of wisdom and guidance in her sacred setting of duty and loyalty. The 'Widow's Gate' to a long surviving family in the Chinatown business community.