Coffee Break, Hotel Kenney Snack Bar, Jones Falls 2007
© Leslie Hossack
Located about 130 kilometers west of Ottawa, Hotel Kenney was built in 1877 on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. www.rideau-info.com/canal/world-heritage For decades the hotel was operated by four successive generations of the Kenney family. They sold the property a year after this photograph was taken, but the new owner seems to cherish this historic summer hotel as much as the Kenneys did. The vintage snack bar pictured here has acquired a new foundation outside and a new tile floor inside; but it still retains the old look and feel, and above all it still has the original red stools.
When I first set out to photograph diners, I needed to identify my own defining characteristic. So for me, a restaurant is a diner only if it has a counter with chrome stools, and the wonderfully unique stools at the Hotel Kenney Snack Bar are my favourite stools of all.
In 2007, I photographed more than 30 diners, both vintage and contemporary. These include classics such as The Templeton in Vancouver, and lost icons such as The Canary in Toronto and Bens in Montreal. This is a study of retro diners from Atlantic Canada to the Pacific Coast.
Public spaces and familiar items from previous generations fascinate me. I love the way the camera allows me to attribute elevated status to everyday objects and places, to portray the inclusive as exclusive – even diners.