Sturgeon Hall Restaurant
I could probably write a short story compilation on all of my most memorable moments from sitting in Sturgeon Hall. Some hilarious, some happy, some sad.
Funny moments include; the time my best friend decided we were going to go on a last minute Plenty Of Fish date with a couple of doctors on a Saturday night. Halloween weekend when a blind man hit on my friend dressed as a deer and told her she was the “prettiest girl in the bar.”. The night my friends and I celebrated the success of my first entry into Art on the Line and all three of my pieces were raffled off to new homes.
I experienced a string of family losses through 2014-2016 and Sturgeon Hall felt like my safe harbour at times and I flocked there regularly. For peace, for memorial beers, and for chicken pitas. While I never managed to make it up stairs to Bordello’s Pizzeria (but I strongly recommend the pepperoni), each section of this restaurant had its own unique atmosphere. The patio in the warmer months, attracted many young folks for hair of the dog and hangover brunches. You had the old man regulars drinking at the bar, watching hockey while the neon Molson Export sign glowed, and a sign counting how many days since the Leafs had won the Stanley Cup (it’s been well over 18,000 days if you’re wondering). The restaurant itself was a great place for families and for dates. Or to sit in a corner and cry into a beer after a particularly touching art show for the Hospice.
Sturgeon Hall reminded me of my uncle Jake’s man cave in Lanark, Ontario. This was a small dark room under the house, where he hid from his wife to drink beer, watch hockey, talk about Canadian politics and write angry letters to Ontario Hydro. Sturgeon Hall, though much brighter and tidier than the cave, just felt authentically Canadian. From the music they played to the wall of iconic black and white Canadian celebrity portraits. The old men at the bar, drinking their beers, yelling at the tv and griping about city council. The paint by numbers photos across the restaurant had a nostalgic feel of the 70’s and also could transport me back to visiting my family in Ontario.
I had wanted to paint this place for a while now, especially now that it has closed. Naturally, I perked right up when Amanda had suggested it. As with 842 Stockwell, I could easily paint an entire series inside and out of this pub. The were so many great colours, angles and corners to this little pub, both inside and out.
While I’m really excited to see how BNA transforms this space, I am deeply saddened at the loss of this pillar in our downtown community. There has been so much change in Kelowna over the past year, and it’s hard to see staples like this go. Sturgeon Hall will always have a place in my heart.
The songs I picked for this pieces were mostly a trip down memory lane, both happy and peculiar— from fighting with an ex-boyfriend before a trip to Hawaii to the ridiculous adventures with some of my most favourite people and many nights of celebrating or remembering loved ones who’ve passed
Sturgeon Hall Playlist
1. U N Me - The Watson Twins
2. Otis - Kanye West and Jay Z
3. Cat Power - Lived in Bars
4. The Constantines - Soon Enough
5. Rural Alberta Advantage - Terrified
6. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
7. The Weight - The Band
8. It Wasn’t Me - Jenny Lewis
9. Sick as a Dog - Hamilton Leithauer & Rostam
10. Breakdown - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
11. So Good at Being In Trouble - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
12. So Long, Marianne - Leonard Cohen
I’ve had quite a lot of conversations with friends recently about special places and wonderful ways to commemorate them. If you want a great memory of your grandmother’s house on the island, your Mexican beach house, the first house you rented or even your first home, I would absolutely love to work with you and create something special! Please email me for more information. I would love to hear from you!