Bringing the pizza that is first to Canada within the 1950s

Bringing the pizza that is first to Canada within the 1950s

Tevie Smith is a 75 12 months old restauranteur whom claims to own brought the very first pizza to Vancouver when you look at the 1950s

Steve Bosch/Vancouver Sun / The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver - Tevie Smith, 75, is sitting at an outdoor patio dining dining table to start with and Cypress keeping court about the sexcapades of their buddy Wilt Chamberlain, the giant rumbles at their drive-in restaurant in Richmond into the 1960s and just how he brought the initial pizza ovens to Canada when you look at the late 1950s.

A lady 40 years his junior walks by, acknowledges him, and smiles.

"Don't believe a term he claims!" she laughs.

Tevie smiles right straight right back, then gets returning to rotating their tales. And trust me, you can find a complete great deal of those.

Tevie - everyone calls him Tevie - is just one of the great figures in Vancouver. He is been a restaurateur, a bouncer and a rounder, a man that is been a fixture in a few elements of Vancouver tradition because the 1950s that are early.

Not high tradition, head.

"He's the final associated with Damon Runyon figures," claims one of his true earliest buddies, Basil Pantages.

"they can easily fit into anywhere, and merge aided by the most readily useful of those, I need to get to understand you' feeling. because he comes down with that cheesy '"

Even if you do not understand Tevie, you could have noticed him. He is the man whom parks their old woody wagon, a 1947 Chrysler Town and nation, in the street by Kits Beach. With a few steamer trunks tied up down on top and sides made from rotting timber, the automobile is difficult to miss.

Old vehicles are one of his true interests. He has four convertibles - a 1964 Thunderbird, '65 Corvair, '65 Mustang, and a '66 Beaumont - also a 1930 Model A Coupe, a 1934 Packard, and another '66 Beaumont.

They truly are the fruits of numerous many years of hard labour.

"compose this down," states Tevie, that is having a birthday that is 75th for 200 during the Smoking puppy Bistro Sunday afternoon.

"It is simple to succeed when you look at the restaurant company. All you need to do is work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 times a year. While the one time you will get down, Christmas time, you need to get in and then make certain the freezers have not gone off."

He understands of just just what he talks, because he made it happen for quite some time. He began doing work for Nat Bailey at White place as he ended up being 13. after some duration later on he relocated to an accepted place called the Senator.

"we utilized to focus Friday evening, Saturday evening, rest on the floor upstairs within the banquet space and fall and run your kitchen on my own on Sunday," he recounts.

He originated from a family that is poor but an entrepreneurial one: their older brother Ascher founded the Smithrite garbage collection business. "He began the organization with a war-assets vehicle and $700 in veteran's credits," Tevie describes.

"He decided to go to Ca on a holiday and saw Dumpster Dumpster. The town of Vancouver did not wish to get garbage that is commercial so he got to the trash business. Plus he was at the navy by having an other in control of the PNE. The PNE hated the town, him the agreement for the PNE trash. so that they provided"

Tevie did not make since money that is much Ascher, but he most likely had more pleasurable. After he graduated from senior school in Kits in 1951, he went along to san francisco bay area to head to restaurant college. Here he discovered pizza, that was all but unknown beyond your community that is italian.

He came back to Vancouver after he graduated in 1955 and chose to take to a pizza concession out during the PNE.

"You understand in which the Coliseum is, well, that has been a roller coaster called the Giant Dipper. We offered pissa - since they did not even understand things to phone it - in the Roller Coaster for 19 cents a piece. And trust me, a bite was taken by them from the jawhorse after which tossed it at me personally. They did not desire to consume that stuff. We accustomed chase them along the midway."

Tevie's claim to end up being the person that is first offer pizza in Canada ended up being disputed by their old buddy Ross Fillipone regarding the Penthouse cabaret, who recently died. Fillipone said he imported the very first pizza range into Canada for The Penthouse - and Tevie agrees. But he says Fillipone brought inside the range illegally, and Smith's ovens had been Canadian guidelines Association authorized, so Smith had the initial appropriate pizza ovens.

"the sole CSA approval had been in Montreal," he relates.

"These Mafia kinds - this can be a real story - owned the oven company, additionally the bread business that made the crusts. These people were driving an range as much as Montreal to have it approved, because I'd a trailer load of pizza materials coming when it comes to PNE. We introduced 14 of the countertop that is small ovens.

"these people were planning to machine weapon these inspectors. They certainly were severe. ' What have you been dudes doin'? Place the stamp on!' "

Tevie wound up starting up Vancouver's very very first pizza restaurant, The Snackery, at fifteenth and Granville. He additionally had Chipper's Drive-In at number 3 path and Airport Method within the 1960s, back when Richmond "was a bad, bad-ass destination."

"Friday evening was fight night, there'd be 400 children call at the parking area," he claims. "It had been amazing."

Tevie managed a lot of the action himself. Although he is just five base seven, he had been a weightlifter, and quite a cookie that is tough weighing 250 pounds (113 kilograms) in the prime. (he is 165 now.) He invested a long period as being a bouncer at many different places, like the old disco hot spot glucose Daddy's.

"You possessed a battle," he claims of bouncing.

"You beat some guy up, he beat you up, whatever, you realize?"

Over time he operated many eateries, in both restaurants plus in bars - Moose McGillicuddy's, the Arts Club on Granville Island, the Pink Pussycat in Gastown.

But some of their escapades revolve around his years at the guys's Athletic Club on Hornby Street, which was into the exact same building as two nightspots, Charlie Brown's and Sneaky Pete's. It appears like there was clearly a party that is continuous on in today's world, a celebration that Tevie and their stock promoter friends such as for example Herb Capozzi usually took on the highway.

"We accustomed get right down to Sun Valley every 12 months ru brides," Capozzi says.

"We took Tevie, that would fall in a large vehicle filled with wine. He'd place it up near the top of the hill and provide champagne and products to everyone, and have now a time that is hilarious everyone get bombed from their brain and attempt to ski down. 1 / 2 of them got lost in the exact middle of the woods."

Baseball legend Wilt Chamberlain ended up being an everyday at the guys's Athletic Club as he stumbled on city, and he and Tevie became friends that are close. Chamberlain endured seven base one ins tall, and stated he previously sex with 20,000 females. Tevie confirms that yes, indeed, Wilt The Stilt appeared to have real means with females, although their concept about exactly why is a little too risquй for a household magazine.

Tevie had been when hitched and has now three grown up kids, but he is been a totally free representative for quite some time - he cheerfully flaunts a snapshot of his flame that is latest, who's 35 yrs old. He is a charmer, with an endless method of getting entertaining stories concerning the hairdresser/prostitute whom utilized to get results Howe Street, the loan that is notorious Jimmy Hill (who was gunned straight down during the resort Georgia) additionally the renowned stock promoter Murray (The Pez) Pezim.

You can easily inform he will offer you an excellent tale whenever he says "that is from the record," or "You most likely can not print this." Which occurs about every 10 moments throughout a 45-minute talk.

He retired from the restaurant business years back and today spends a lot of their energy and time creating thrift shops for charities that look after pets, like the Wildlife save Thrift Store downtown.

He sorely misses their friend that is old Fillipone who he played racquetball with each week. But broadly speaking, at 75, Tevie Smith is fairly content. He has household across from Kits Beach, he's their stable of collector automobiles, he's got their dogs. And their memories.

"Life is great," he states. "Life is truly good."

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