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Bellevue Restaurant

Crowsnest Pass - Bellevue

Other Names:
Bellevue Café
Jim's Café
Wong's Restaurant

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Heritage Value

Character-Defining Elements


Street Address: 2438 - 213 Street
Community: Crowsnest Pass - Bellevue
Boundaries: Plan 6099 AQ, Block 1, Lot 20
Contributing Resources: N/A

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
15 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
6099 AQ

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.582214 -114.368436

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Registered Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1989/12/13

Historical Information

Built: 1917 to 1917
Significant Date(s)
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Eating or Drinking Establishment
Current Function(s):

The coal mines in southwestern Alberta developed to meet the need for coal supplies for railways, other industries and consumers in the era before the widespread use of petroleum and natural gas. Bellevue sprang up as a town in 1903 in response to West Canadian Collieries' nearby coal mining operations. In July 1912 the town grew when the Company closed its mine at Lille and transferred much of its personnel to Bellevue.

The Chinese first arrived in the community in the latter part of the nineteenth century to provide cheap labour on railway projects. Once these projects were completed they had trouble finding work in the face of extreme prejudice. Therefore, the Chinese took on tasks that others found demeaning, including laundries and restaurants in many communities in western Canada.

Although early construction in Bellevue began as early as 1903, most of these structures did not survive the fires of 1917 and 1921. The Bellevue Cafe was probably the first Chinese restaurant in Bellevue. Owned by Mah Ling and Co., it burned to the ground in 1917. Mah On, Mah Wing, and Mah Joe built the current structure, the Bellevue Restaurant, later that year. Mah Joe emigrated from Canton, China circa 1908, first to Vancouver and a year later to Bellevue where he opened the restaurant. Since 1917, a series of members of the Chinese community have owned it.

The identity of the architect and builders are not recorded. According to the local history, numerous local contractors benefited from the demand for construction work after the 1917 fires. In all likelihood, local carpenters and craftsmen built this wooden structure in the months immediately after the fire. As coal-mining work was frequently interrupted by temporary layoffs or strikes, it is also possible that unemployed miners worked on the construction.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0715
Designation File: DES 1558
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 14078
Website Link: N/A
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1558)
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