Three Little Pigs "Pentry", London Ontario 1950s Menu Art
Three Little Pigs "Pentry", London Ontario 1950s Menu
Three Little Pigs "Pentry", London Ontario 1950s

Three Little Pigs "Pentry", London Ontario 1950s

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The Three Little Pigs was a drive-in established in 1934 by Earl Nichols in London, Ontario, Canada.

His son Dick recalls: ‘In the winter of 1934, my father was unemployed and flat broke. It was the middle of the Great Depression. Economic activity had ground to a halt and there were no jobs.

‘So, he borrowed $150 from my grandmother and set up a hotdog stand … he called it the Three Little Pigs ‘Pentry ’after the popular Disney cartoon.

‘He sold hot dogs, hamburgers, a drink called OrangeKool and a dish called Chicken Pickin’s. It was the first themed restaurant in town and became a popular hangout for students from the nearby University of Western Ontario.

‘In the spring of 1937, the Thames River overflowed its banks and flooded the neighborhood where Dad’s business was located. When the waters receded and the Three Little Pigs reopened, Dad painted a line on the wall to indicate the high water mark.

‘Two years after that, WWII started and young men at the university enlisted in large numbers. Business tailed off so Dad branched out into catering for weddings and other occasions. It didn’t make him rich, but it paid the bills until the war was over. And the Three Little Pigs remained as popular as ever.’

In the summer of 1950, Dick relates, the community was gripped with fear by a polio epidemic and business slowed again because families with young children were afraid to congregate in restaurants.

‘Dad sent Chickin’ Pickin’ baskets every week to staff at the local hospital and the gesture turned the Three Little Pigs into a community institution and the business lunch trade boomed.

‘My purpose in telling you this is to point out that Canadians have survived hard times before. Life, as author Hugh MacLennan once said, is ‘just one damned thing after another.’

The Three Pigs is now a Mexican restaurant, but the line painted by Earl Nichols to indicate the high water mark is still there – 86 years and counting.

Thanks to Okotoks Today, which printed this interview with Dick Nichols at the height of the Covid pandemic.

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.

Each order includes a print of the interior menu.

All printed in USA.

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