I was asked by Huffington Post to write about my favourite building in B.C. for an article. The Architecture Foundation of BC is searching for the province’s top 100 buildings, based on personal experiences in those buildings, so naturally I wrote about the timeless beauty of the #3 Road McDonalds in Richmond.
It’s a little hard to read on their site, so here it is:
My vote for favourite building in BC is actually one that I sort of have a love/hate relationship with. It’s the McDonalds at No 3 Rd and Granville, in Richmond, also known as the first-ever McDonalds in Canada. I’ve also read that when it was built, in 1967, it was actually the first McDonalds located outside of the United States.
It’s a national treasure, and it was my first real job. It felt like everyone from my high school worked here. We hated it, but we all hated it together. To be honest, it was kind of the greatest feeling in the world.
The unique thing about the restaurant was that it had a tunnel with a conveyor belt inside it, which ran from the kitchen area, outside the building, across the lane, to the drive-thru window. It was meant for sending burgers and fries out of the restaurant at top speed, but the secret was there was a hole in the side of the tunnel, outside the back entrance. This meant on days when you weren’t working, you could stand on top of the planter, reach inside, and snag a hot bag before it made it to the drive-thru booth.
I remember I was always annoyed when people from my high school, that I barely knew, would come in and give me a nod that meant they wanted free food. So whenever that happened I loved to go into the bin of expired burgers and stick a bunch of really old ones in the microwave. Then I’d motion the guys over to the side of the counter like, “Here ya go fellas, this one’s on me.”
I still have the sacred McGold card, which I think got you incredible deals like 4% off jeans at Bootlegger in the mall. I also kept the little pin they gave me after reaching the 1-year mark as an employee. I quit soon after that. My last shift, I dropped two full baskets of nuggets into the fryer with 10 minutes to go, and I left with a takeout bag so heavy it probably would have halted the conveyor belt.
So this is my tribute to the #3 Road McDonalds, an ugly building perhaps, but one that will always have a special place in my heart.
You can see other people’s choices over here (click on the slideshow).
PS – McDonalds executives, if you’re reading this I wouldn’t be mad at free cheeseburgers for life, or like a nugget fountain for my apartment, thnx.