Chilliwack’s Palms Confectionary
It seems that our neighbours to the south will be enjoying July as National Ice Cream Month, complete with a special day for indulgence in all those tasty treats. Plain cones, waffle cones, sprinkles, toppings, chocolate or butterscotch-dipped, vanilla, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, bubblegum and tiger stripe flavours beckoning to not just kids but adults alike. I like ice cream, but the fanciest I seek out is spumoni reminiscent of my earlier, sunny days in the Mediterranean. I also like good old fashioned vanilla and strawberry and sometimes when I feel daring its one scoop of each! Yum!
Ice cream and any treat that can be made from it were proudly on offer during the early business years of Five Corners. A well known ice cream parlour in Chilliwack was opened by Fred Leary in 1914 when he established “The Palms Confectionary” on Wellington Avenue. Later, Mr. Leary relocated to the Barber Block at Five Corners where a picture, now in the Archives, was taken of the storefront complete with eager children vying for entry while mothers seem to wait patiently as the kiddies seem to bound with joy.
Mr. Leary’s menu was filled with ice cream sodas, milk shakes, ice cream and sundaes. At 15 cents each, one could sip on one of 13 different flavours of soda including Crème de Menthe. There were 28 different sundaes ranging in price from 20 to 50 cents with names reminiscent of song titles like Cherry Dip, Date with a Peach, Victory, Aviation Glide and the Fraser Valley Taxi Special. As I glance through the menu, I have made my 1914 choice. Even then it would be the same - one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of strawberry. That will be 30 cents please.
Image: A selection of artefacts from Palms Confectionary donated to the Chilliwack Museum in 1991.