Interview with Hopkins Dining Parlour
Restaurant, Saskatchewan Heritage Site, Minnie the Ghost – Meet the Owner, Glady Pierce, of Hopkins Dining Parlour in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Recently, we ran a contest on our ehCanadaTravel.com website and social media channels called, “Win a 3 Night Play & Stay Getaway in Historic Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Sweepstakes”. One of the participating businesses was Hopkins Dining Parlour. The restaurant, not only serves a fine menu, but it covers 4 floors, it is designated as a Provincial and Moose Jaw Heritage Site and it is the home to Minnie the Ghost.
View the Hopkins Dining Parlour Restaurant Profile . Have you eaten here? Leave a review.
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We wanted to learn more. We hope you do too. So we thought we would send one of our hard hitting reporters to the scene to investigate. Actually… we have no reporters but we do have knowledgeable Tourism Ambassadors like Cary Horning. Cary sat down with Glady Pierce, the owner, in our swanky online email studio for a one-on-one interview.
1. Who are you and what do you do?
In 1978 the Pierce family of Moose Jaw purchased the 3 storey 1905 Victorian mansion that was built by the Edward Hopkins family, and opened a restaurant named “Hopkins Dining Parlour”. The restaurant has 4 floors of dining, which includes 2 banquet rooms, a lounge, and a lovely summer patio. Hopkins Dining Parlour has always been owned and operated by the Pierce family, and they and their staff, many of which have been there from 10 to 33 years, consider this their second home and would like the customers to feel the same way.
2. Tell us something unique and interesting about Hopkins Dining Parlour?
Hopkins Dining Parlour is a designated Provincial, and Moose Jaw Heritage site. The bricks on the outside of the house and on one of the 2 fireplaces, which are operational in the winter, are from the Moose Jaw Brick Plant which has been closed for many, many years. It was the most northerly house in Moose Jaw when it was built. The restaurant is filled with antiques, one of which the “Antiques Road Show” people appraised and told the Pierces that it was hand carved in the 1600’s, has real horns on the deer, and came from a German Hunting lodge. House tours are given between 2 – 4 p.m. From Tuesdays to Saturdays. Hopkins has a “resident ghost” which the Pierces have named Minnie after Mrs. Hopkins. She appears from time to time to staff and occasionally to customers. Hopkins Dining Parlour and “Minnie” appeared on ” Creepy Canada” and in a book “Canada Ghost to Ghost”. Some staff and customers have also seen a man in a long coat, and a child. The house tours are very informative about the building, the Hopkins family, the antiques, the ghosts, and also have information about many local historic, and interesting sites to see in Moose Jaw.
3. What do you like most about living in Moose Jaw?
The friendly people – everyone knows everyone (which occasionally some people do not want everyone to know everything about them – (kidding!). If any resident has health, or illness problems the people all pull together to get them the help and comfort they need. Of course, in my opinion, the reason I like it is because it is very easy to get around the city – nothing is too far away. Another thing is the heritage buildings are wonderful. And I love to go to work at Hopkins every day.
4. In your experience where do most visitors come from?
In the winter the most visitors come from Canada during the spring, summer and fall they come from all over the world. Our comment book has great comments from people from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Calgary, Vancouver just in the last 3 weeks and this is winter. In the summer months we have had them from China, England, Japan, Australia, and U.S.A. to name a few.
5. Provide us some insight on what Historical places stand out in Moose Jaw and their importance to Tourism?
Traveling downtown in Moose Jaw is like traveling back in time. Both sides of Main St. have many historical buildings. The Tunnels of Moose Jaw, the Liquor Board Store in the historical old CPR station at the bottom of Main St., The Sahara Spa located in the historical C.N.R. Station, the churches, the Murals, the great trolley tours (day and evening ghost tours) which originate from the Tourism Moose Jaw office on Thatcher Dr. East.(While you are there check out Mac the Moose and the Snowbird plane) Yvette Moore Gallery, Fifth Avenue Jewellery, and of course my favorite-Hopkins Dining Parlour.
6. In your opinion what is the #1 reason tourists should pick Moose Jaw to travel to?
Moose Jaw is a “stay & play” destination- could stay at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa and almost everything is within walking distance from there (depending on the weather). Casino is across the street and the thing that is the farthest away is the Town ‘n Country Mall at the North end of Main St.
7. What makes Moose Jaw an unique travel destination?
You can relax in the Spa waters or you can visit one of our beautiful Parks – Crescent Park across from the Temple Gardens Spa, Wakamow Valley a short few blocks from downtown, we have great museums: Western Development Museum, Sukanen ship Museum, The Moose Jaw Public Library, the Moose Jaw Art Museum, the Mae Wilson Culture Centre (located in a beautiful old movie theater on Main St.).
8. What is your funniest tourism moment?
I was giving a house tour one afternoon and as I was leaving an area, which is actually the back stairs where Hopkins’ maid was to walk up, and I had no reason to turn the light on in this area, I heard a strange noise….I turned around and right in front of me stood a short white haired little old lady. Her white hair seemed to glow in the dark. I was sure it was “Minnie” coming to scare myself and the people on the tour. I let out a bit of a scream and she turned and ran. Later I found out that it was a customer from downstairs that had lost her way while trying to find the bathroom. Needless to say – that was when I had to find the bathroom as well.
9. What are the future Plans and Goals for Hopkins?
We are always trying out new menu items & we are trying new lunch items to increase our lunch sales. Our goals are to keep all of our great customers happy and our staff happy too.
10. What are the biggest challenges in the future of tourism for Moose Jaw is?
We must keep all of our heritage buildings (quite a few have burnt down so we cannot be destroying others). It is very nice to keep as many historical and unique places as we can here (there seems to be more franchise places coming to town and customers say that “they can go to these at home they want something different.) The city must keep up the streets and the businesses must keep their staff friendly and their streets, yards and buildings looking nice.
Thank you Glady Pierce for your time, humor and candor. It was a pleasure to chat Moose Jaw with you.
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