Turn On Your Headlights for Car Service


CVA 1376-17 - White Spot [drive in] restaurant [850 Burrard Street] 1952? Werner Leggenhager

CVA 1376-17 – White Spot Drive-In Restaurant with Lunch Counter at 850 Burrard Street. 1952? Werner Lenggenhager photo.

This is an unusual photo.

I’ve seen other photos taken from Smithe or thereabouts on Burrard Street (such as the one that appears below) with the White Spot neon signage displayed. But this is the only image I’ve seen of the actual lunch counter and parking lot where folks could switch on their headlights and receive ‘car service’.

This outlet of the now-ubiquitous restaurant chain seemed to have been located at 850 Burrard Street (near to where the Italian Kitchen is today). The image above was taken with the camera facing northeast (you can make out the Hotel Vancouver in the background).

The photo was made by Werner Lenggenhager (1899-1988), who, according to CVA’s very brief bio, was a Seattle man who once worked for Boeing. The photo bears the marks of a non-resident. It just isn’t the sort of shot which most Vancouverites in the 1950s would have taken the trouble to make.

This link shows Jack Cullen (and occasionally with his wife and also with his cigarette!) doing ads for White Spots and other businesses for KVOS Bellingham (now a station of Me-TV).

Thanks, Werner!

Crop pf CVA 2008-022.045 - [Downtown Vancouver street scene with BC Hydro building] 1958

Crop pf CVA 2008-022.045 – Downtown Vancouver street scene with BC Electric building and neon White Spot signage. 1958.

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11 Responses to Turn On Your Headlights for Car Service

  1. lhhouben says:

    You do come up with the doozies! I love old photos I’ve never seen before. Vancouver archives has recently been adding photos taken in 1978 of heritage homes in Vancouver, including near where I live. I found one that shows the corner of Joyce and Vanness (aprox) with an old house long gone, and where a new 30 story high rise (alas) is soon to be built, near the little lane bordering the East Joyce station. I stared at it, and very faintly I remembered it from my youth. LOL It’s amazing what people took photos of.

  2. Daniel says:

    Very cool drive-in restaurant! I love the openness.
    The second image sure seems to have a variety of car ages.

  3. Dean Cardno says:

    A small correction on the CVA caption of the second photo: in 1958 the building behind the White Spot would have been the BC Electric building – it only became the BC Hydro building in 1961.

  4. Lee J. says:

    The Whitespot was NOT located where the Scotiabank theatre is now. In fact, the car dealership building it is north of, still exists at the corner of Smithe and Burrard.

    • mdm says:

      Can you share the name of the establishment that is now in the car dealership bldg at/near Smithe and Burrard? Thanks.

  5. Lee J. says:

    Spence Diamonds is in the north end, Denney’s used to be in there. There is, or was a pub at the other end and a few restaurants in between. Still parking on the upper levels.

  6. mdm says:

    Thanks for your assistance with this. I appreciate it. It looks to me as though the Burrard White Spot was even further north than Spence Diamonds. I checked the 1955 Vancouver Directory and it is shown at 850 Burrard, which would actually put WS closer to where the Italian Restaurant is today. Again, thanks for your help!

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