The original Bee Hive, built in 1918, was an ice cream parlour and a saloon with a pool room, operated by W. Hansen. In 1929 Carl and Margaret Thulin took over the operation of the Café and opened the new store seen in the photograph.

The Bee Hive Café – Serving Ice Cream and Scuttlebutt for over 70 years

  • Dec. 29, 2017 11:30 a.m.

Erika Anderson

Special to the Mirror

“If you wanted to get the latest scuttlebutt, then you went over to the Bee Hive about coffee time” explains Mr. Waldref, who had a photographic studio across from the Bee Hive Café in the ‘60s, in an interview in 1989.

In a 1988 interview, long time Campbell River resident Pat Turner described the Bee Hive Café as a community meeting place.

“It never bothered you to go alone to the Beehive,” she said. “You knew sooner or later you’d meet someone you knew. It was such a social place for many people. It wasn’t just a teen’s café, older people went there too. Everyone was comfortable there. It was a real family place.”

The original Bee Hive Café was built in 1918 and was an ice cream parlour with a saloon and a pool room, and was operated by T.W. Hansen. In 1929 Carl and Margaret Thulin took over operation and moved the Bee Hive to a newly built location known as the “Bee Hive Block” in 1937. Art Rose took over operation of the Bee Hive in 1947, and he sold to Bob Ahearn three years later. After a huge storm flooded the basement in 1956, Skip MacDonald bought the café with his friend Bob Lewis. Eventually MacDonald took over sole proprietorship and in 1988 he built a new building to house the Bee Hive as well as a new restaurant. MacDonald retired and sold to the Bendicksons in 1995.

MacDonald recalls the popular banana splits that the Bee Hive served.

“We made our own hard ice cream. For the banana split you would use the three ice cream flavours – strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. I remember chasing around town searching for bananas because we had run out and stores would be closed because it was a holiday or something.”

He explained that you needed just the right bananas.

“You have got to have them at the right time. You don’t want them green, nobody wants to eat green bananas. And they can’t be over ripe or they would go rotten very quickly. We would order a case of petites. Petites were a smaller banana. They just fit in the dish nicely, where the larger banana was hanging over the dish at both ends and was kind of a sloppy looking thing.”

The Bee Hive also had the first soft ice cream machine in town. It was ordered from Chicago, and when breakdowns occurred their refrigeration guy would have to go looking for used parts out of the States to get the machine running again.

MacDonald described the advantage of making the milkshakes with soft ice cream. “The hard ice cream had a tendency to flip. First thing you know you flip one of those stainless steel milkshake tins right off the spindle and you have the ice cream and the flavor base all over the floor.”

Stella Moore worked at the Bee Hive in the 1970s.

“It was a lot of fun there, the people who worked there were all friends,” she says. “We were mostly older women working there.” When asked what made the Bee Hive Café so special, Stella says, “it was the only restaurant with a jukebox, so all the kids would come there and put their quarters in and listen to music. The food was wonderful, it was all home cooked. The fish and chips was especially good. We laughed a lot there, and it was a nice spot overlooking the water.”

Mr. Waldref also recalled the jukebox as being the centre of attention at the Bee Hive.

“They had a jukebox in there for as long as I can remember. Skip, he could control the volume from the front. The kids would yell turn it up, and then someone else would holler leave it alone, then someone would say turn it down.”

Just Posted

Women of rock and roll slide into Campbell River Curling Club

Twelve teams take part in ladies open bonspiel

Increase in property crime is partly preventable, Campbell River RCMP say

While Campbell River RCMP experienced a decrease in files for the period… Continue reading

Campbell River rider takes Island endurocross championship

John Stevenson has only been riding competitively for a handful of years, but he’s already at the top

Vancouver Island substitute teacher said he wanted a student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks for November 2018 incident

VIDEO: Campbell Riverites gather to remember

Community pays its respects in annual Remembrance Day ceremony

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

Most Read