Diner Lights

Sid van der Meer recently travelled from the gold rush fields of Arizona back to Canada’s most westerly community — Beaver Creek, Yukon. Sid has strong family ties to the White River First Nation, on whose lands he resides. He built his own home and museum behind Beaver Creek’s baseball diamond. His museum has become one of the highlights of the small border town.

As you enter Sid van der Meer’s home you take a few steps back in time and are embraced by history. To the right of the entrance is a small open room displaying antiques and collectables. Sid keeps some of his favourite and most delicate antiques inside his home to prevent weathering.

One of the first things you see is Sid’s vintage and fragile light fixture hanging down from the ceiling. It is a diner light from Allen & Wright, commonly known as A&W. “I got this light from Summerland, B.C., almost fifteen years ago now. I was down there visiting some friends and they had this light in their garage,” says Sid. “The guy’s wife didn’t want him to keep it so I took it off their hands.”

As we pass through the living room and through the kitchen, Sid explains, “It came out of an old A&W diner when they were drive-in diners. The light is from 1956, when the waitresses would wear roller-skates and used to go up to the windows of the cars parked out front.”

We enter a room far back in Sid’s home, where he created his own version of a 1950s diner. In a corner sits an original round booth decorated as a homage to classic ‘50s stars such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Buddy Holly. Sid picks up a few objects displayed around the room. Holding the objects up he says, “Not only do I have the light, but I also have A&W trays and the roller skates that were used.”

Sid is proud of his antique collection and wants to share his knowledge and stories with all who are willing to listen. Bordertown Garage and Museum officially opened again on April 1, 2015. Ask for Sid and his Museum at the Beaver Creek Information Centre.

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