Address: 130 E Hastings St | Neighbourhood: Hastings-Chinatown | Established: c. 1950 | Currently: Property of MOV
Image of The Blue Eagle Cafe

The Blue Eagle Café opened in the 1944, after several other coffee shops and diners opened and closed in the same location. It was the site of the original White Lunch Cafeteria before it relocated west on Hastings to capitalize on Woodward's shopping traffic. The Blue Eagle's neon sign, unique for its complex design and craftsmanship, is now the property of the Museum of Vancouver.

“[The sign] was an extraordinary piece of work for a very simple little café.”

-John Atkin, civic historian

The daytime café and late-night hangout changed as the neighbourhood evolved. By the 1970s, The Blue Eagle’s strictly western menu started to include Chinese-Canadian specialties. It eventually fell on hard times and closed. 

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Judy Graves
Judy Graves said…
“It had great hamburgers, greasy fries. Probably nothing we ate there would be legal anymore. Tons of trans fats. It was absolutely delicious..."
Joe Keithley
Joe Keithley said…
"We didn't have enough money to go to a booze can. So let’s go hang out at the Blue Eagle and sit there until they kick us out..."
John Atkin
John Atkin wrote…
“By the 1980s we were left with the Blue Eagle, the Ovaltine, and the Café Royal over in Chinatown, but even those couldn't survive..."

“The Blue Eagle had changed names at least three times. It actually started off as the original White Lunch in Vancouver.

The Blue Eagle was interesting because it left the tile work of the original White Lunch, it added its own tile work in the expansion, and then it sat a tessellated pavement in the front entrance that said 'Blue Eagle Café' and the street address.

You had a number of coffee shops on Hastings, in fact, an extraordinary number. You had things like the Blue Eagle, the Golden Gate, the San Francisco, the Log Cabin, all in the same row all next to each other.

But we start to see a shift in any number of dynamics in that neighborhood. We start to see that downward spiral. Some of the places that suffered greatly were the coffee shops.

From a huge number of cafes and coffee shops along the street, by the 1980s we were left with the Blue Eagle, the Ovaltine, the Café Royal over in Chinatown, and a couple of others, but very quickly even those couldn’t survive.

And the life of the Blue Eagle at the end was pretty sad. It was a shadow of its former self. They tried to sell groceries in there as well as incredibly awful coffee, and at some point it wasn’t even safe, in many ways, to go into the place. So inevitably, it closed.”

-John Atkin, civic historian


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Photo gallery

Get a closer look at this sign and the business it represents. All photos are provided by the MOV.
Blue Eagle Café Street View 1948
Blue Eagle Café and New Empire Hotel 1951
Blue Eagle Exterior
Blue Eagle Street View
Blue Eagle Café Sign 2008
Blue Eagle Tile 2011
Woman outside the Blue Eagle Entrance 1998
Blue Eagle Café Street View

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