One of the latest Updates and Articles about Diana Sweets 2014
The old Diana Sweets diner in St Catharines has been resurrected and you’ll never guess where! I sat in one of the old booths today and had a cup of coffee.
Click the photo or link below to read the whole article
Update: Diana Sweets November 1, 2012
Plato Auctions is auctioning off more of Diana Sweets. It is listed for their auction Saturday November 17th, 2012 - http://platoauctions.com/Nov%2017%202012.html
LIGHTING: Rare ca. 1915 Leaded Glass Wall Lamp Shade in a demilune form. The shade is one of a pair that was custom made for the “Diana Sweets” Restaurant in St. Catharines Ontario. (Framed Interior Photo of lamp in Restaurant available) The Restaurant was the basis of Ron Sexsmith song “Diana Sweets” off of the Destination Unknown album;
Update: Diana Sweets September 20, 2011
Booths are being auctioned off to the highest bidder at Penninsula Liquidators today. See article in St. Catharines Standard http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3304470postbox
Diana Sweets memorabilia goes on the auction block
Landmark former city restaurant
By Erica Bajer, Standard Staff
Posted 12 hours ago
Some sweet local history will be on the auction block in St. Catharines Tuesday.
More than a dozen complete booths from Diana Sweets, a former landmark diner on St. Paul St., will be sold to the highest bidder at Peninsula Liquidators Auction during its 6 p.m. session.
"I can't reveal the source. I keep my consigners confidential," said auctioneer Luke Pasmore.
He said the Bunting Rd. business received the art deco booths — complete with walls, mirrors, tables and benches — last week. About a half-dozen have been set up in the auction house, showcasing hundreds or even thousands of signatures of Niagarans who dined at the popular hangout during its 76 years downtown.
"That's the whole mystique of Diana Sweets, people used to go in there and carve their names," Pasmore said, noting his name is etched somewhere on the wooden booths.
"The beauty of these is the carving."
The old diner, an institution immortalized by fictional detective Benny Cooperman in Howard Engel's mystery novels, was also known as The Di.
Pasmore said not only are the booths historic, they are also exciting examples of art deco style.
"There's definitely architectural value," he said. "It is great deco stuff — it's 1920s."
While Pasmore would prefer to sell the booths as a complete set, he is willing to split them up depending on the interest in the items at today's auction.
"One of these booths would look great in somebody's kitchen," he said. "I'm going to just try to get the fairest price for the consigner."
He hopes someone local buys the booths so they can remain in St. Catharines.
Local resident Sally Dollar, who has a page on her website (www.sallydollar.com) dedicated to memories of Diana Sweets, also hopes the booths find a local home.
In fact, she was part of a group that once worked to get the furnishings from The Di returned to St. Catharines from an antique dealer in Buffalo N.Y. She said the Friends of Diana Sweets got close to raising the money needed to buy the items but weren't able to find a place to put them.
She visited Peninsula Liquidators Auction Monday to see the booths. She said it was emotional to see so many of the booths from a place she remembers fondly. The diner is where she had her first "big-girl lunch" with her mother, and the site of her first date.
"I hope they find a happy home," she said. "There's so much history. It was one of the iconic downtown places."
She said her initials can likely be found on at least a dozen of the wooden booths.
"That was the fun of it," she said, recalling she would use her fork to covertly etch her initials.
Pasmore said it's not every day he gets such unique items for auction.
"This is unusual to have something like this here," he said. "This is something normally you would sell on site."
He said the auction house sold the booths when the restaurant closed back in 1996. They were sold to a man from Buffalo, N.Y. He said they've changed hands since then, and a few years ago some pieces, including booths, became part of a Niagara-on-the-Lake motorcycle shop.
On its website, Clare's Harley-Davidson Niagara details how the business brought back Diana Sweets furnishings, which had been languishing in storage for more than a decade.
A photo gallery highlighting what the dealership has done with the nostalgic furniture can be found atwww.claresharleydavidson.com.
To view the pieces available for auction, visit www.auctionsniagara.com or attend the business Tuesday between noon and 6 p.m.
UPDATE: Diana Sweets October 4th, 2008
Diana Sweets is back in Niagara and on display in NOTL on York Road.
April 18, 2008
Complete article from The Standard - http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=993478&auth=GRANT+LaFLECHE+Standard+Staff
Diana Sweets furnishings have been bought and are on their way back to Niagara! Randy Clare from Clare's Cycle has purchased the remaining lot from the antique dealer in Buffalo and is bringing it to Niagara-on-the-Lake to be restored and put in his new Harley Davidson Store. It is not exactly as we had planned and hoped, but at least she will be preserved and located closer to her downtown St. Catharines home. We are excited and relieved - Thanks Randy!
For over 75 Years, Diana Sweets --"The Di" --w as a conspicuous landmark business in the downtown core.... Equally as important was the major role which it played in the social and cultural life of St. Catharines. Although the "Di" went through three major changes in managment during its history as a restaurant -- the Grammar family, the Droganes Brothers and finally Maria Correa -- still, it never lost its ambient charm and atmosphere. The "Di" became a meeting place for three and possibly four generations of St. Catharines residents, whether it was for a quick coffee or snack, lunch or dinner with friends, family or co-workers, or simply as a quiet retreat for a few moments durning a busy day. The "Di" was a comfortable, familiar destination where the staff got to know regular customers by name, and could take their orders without having to ask for it.
When the "Di" closed in 1996, a vital downtown business was lost, joining in with the demise of other long established firms such as Coy Bros Hardware and Levitt's China. The blow became even more poignant with the removal of the original Art Deco interior and other restaurant fittings which were shipped to Buffalo, destined for resale to the highest bidder. The "Di" is just one example of several historically and architecturally significant downtown structures or built heritage features which have vanished within recent memory.
Former Diana Sweets operator dies at age 80
By Amy Lazar, Standard Staff
Constantine (Gus) Droganes, 80, died Friday in St. Catharines, following a three-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was known for his kind demeanour, generosity and watchful eye over the teenagers in the diner he owned with his brother, Peter. “We had quite a place there, you know,” Peter said Sunday. Gus served in the Second World War and then immigrated to St. Catharines in 1952 from Apidia, Greece. Later that year, the 26-year-old brought his younger brother, Peter, to Canada and they began working in restaurants around the city. “We learned the trade and he got married and we decided to go into business for ourselves,” Peter said. Gus and his new wife, Mary, along with Peter bought the Delta coffee shop on Queenston Street. They owned it until 1965, when they sold it and bought Diana Sweets. For two decades, the pair continued the life of a St. Paul Street landmark that had originally opened in 1920 as an ice cream parlour. Later evolving into a diner, the Droganes brothers spent 15 to 18 hours a day there, serving customers their favourite menu items. “It was hard work, but a lot of the customers were local and we loved our customers,” Peter said. It wasn’t uncommon for people from other cities to take a seat at the marble counter or in a nearby booth, telling the Droganes brothers that they had heard about its character and needed to see it for themselves. In 1985, they sold the restaurant, but it was difficult for Gus to walk away. He stayed on part-time for a few years to help the new owners out, before retiring. After 75 years at 115 St. Paul St., Diana Sweets closed in June 1996. He was a longtime member and supporter of St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church. Gus is survived by his wife, Mary, daughters Georgina and Constance.The funeral service will take place Monday, July 23, at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church on Niagara Street at 11 a.m. Interment is to follow at Victoria Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donation be made to the church or the Parkinson’s Society. A book of condolences can also be signed at www.patrickdarte-funeral.ca
Scroll down for Diana Stories!
Phil LaPorta - Submitted July 27, 2018
I am so happy to have found this site, and solved the mystery. In the early 1990s, I went to St. Catherines for business with a work associate (worked for the City of Rochester). We stopped for lunch at this most charming restaurant. For several years after, whenever I found my way there with my two boys (now grown) I searched and searched, sure I could take them and revisit for myself. I couldn't imagine it would have closed, as it must have not long after I was there. Not recalling the name, I was frustrated by google . . . until @ 4 yrs ago when I found this site. Sad its gone. Glad to know the story.
Jim Hosepian - Submitted August 21, 2017
The name Diana Sweets takes me back to the fifties... ...My sister Alice Avedisian worked at Kernahan & Graves on Queen St...on certain days I would meet her at her office, play on the old typewriter... ...for lunch we would go to the Sweets ...the sounds of dishes clacking all around you , the hurried moves of the waitresses bringing the orders and especially the chatter of patrons across the aisles....and certainly there was that smell that was distinctively the Sweets... My sister knew Gus fairly well and at Easter she would surprise me with one of his huge chocolate bunnies .. ...Saturday mornings I'd be on the bus at Ontario and carlton with my mom...a day of shopping, the market and of course the Sweets...where I would order my favourite, a hot beef sandwich with fries...do they ever make them like that anymore?...that was then followed by their infamous "banana splits"...do they make them like that anymore...? When I think of the "Sweets" I think of two who took me there ...my mom and my sister...memories are bittersweet!
Catherine Clyburn Holman, Submitted March 10, 2017
I just loved this store from an early age through High School. I had crushes and carved initials on the benches in the store. I was told it was allowed. Also I put nickel at the time for music there small juke boxes. tears to hear it is now closed. wished I got a suvenear.
Terry Alford, Submitted March 3, 2017
About 1937 my mother, Amy D. Wilson (1917-2009) of St. Catharines was 20, waitressing at Diana Sweets when young R.W. "Bill" Alford (1908-1965) came in for a p.b & j sandwich. Their 1940 marriage produced three children and lasted until his passing . My mother always spoke of D.S. with fond memories.
Ron Unruh, Submitted Sept 1, 2016
Diana Sweets was the best place to eat. Our family seldom ate out but unknown to anyone, In 1952 I was ten years old and I could slip into the restaurant and for twenty-five cents (two-bits we called it) I had a huge high slice of Boston Cream Pie. There I would be, a small boy in a large dining booth, alone with a pie slice as large as my face.
Patricia G Martin, Submitted Dec 10, 2015
I remember going to the Diana Sweets every Saturday with my Mom. We would go shopping downtown to Kresges, Victoria Store, Eatons, Wallaces and then stop for a milkshake. Mom is gone and so are the stores but the wonderful memories remain. Thank you for bringing back those memories today
Submitted by Vince Savoia - April 2015
As a young boy it was a real treat when my aunt took be to St. Paul street when she was on her shopping trips. It was worth the time spent standing by looking at women's clothes, and shoes. To receive the reward of a plate of burger and fries at Diana Sweets. When you entered the restaurant it was like you were entering those famous restaurants you seen in the movies. It was sad to see it go, you don't see that kind of quality in the food and the service and the atmosphere.
Submitted by Rider Cooey, February 2015
You provide a great service, preserving both artifacts and memories of this bit of St Kitts history. What starts as nostalgia becomes heritage, then becomes history.
I have three stories. The first is from the late 1930's and might be this list's oldest anecdote about Diana Sweets. The second is from 1968, and the third is from about 1952.
1) In 1938-40--just as World War 2 started, my mom Kay/Kathleen Rider lived on Lowell Avenue with her sister Elinor and attended the Collegiate. They hung out with friends at Diana Sweets whenever they could. One hot summer, Joe Cooey appeared from Ohio, visiting his aunt Mrs McIntosh, wife of the wealthy local dentist on Lake Street. Joe had finished high school, was a sharp dresser, and drove his aunt's auto... a big hit with the gang at Diana Sweets, especially the girls, especially Kay. He stayed for the summer. He and Kay became an item, and when he returned to Ohio, they corresponded. After two or three summers of courting, always centred on Diana Sweets, they were married in 1941. I was born shortly after.
2) In 1968, after living in the States, then working at Expo 67 in Montreal, I got a job teaching at the Collegiate. Mrs Hayes was the head English teacher, and Mac ____ was the shop teacher and a well-known artist. I ate many meals at Diana Sweets. I rented the 2nd floor apartment over the flower store on Queen, across from the Y. Students, one of them Joanne Storoschuk, threw snowballs at my window.
3) In 1952, Elke Ruoff, a "Displaced Person" from Russia, took a food-service course in Toronto at what was then Ryerson Technical Institute. Another student, a Greek immigrant, invited her on an excursion to Niagara Falls, stopping at his family's restaurant in St Catharines. The Falls were nice, but Elke never forgot Diana Sweets. She moved west, became a hospital dietician, married a Spaniard, and had a daughter. Some time later, I married her daughter. That's how, fifty years after her visit to Diana Sweets, Elke happened to tell me in 2002-- talking about the War, Dresden, being a refugee, coming to Canada-- about the young Greek immigrant and his family's wonderful restaurant in St Catharines. So I told her about Kay and Joe.
Thanks again, Rider Cooey
Submitted by Karen Carlson, January 2015
The Di was the place to be right after school was over.A great place to check out hot guys.Loved the cherry cokes and fries.People from all high schools went there to be seen.
Submitted by Paul Shtogryn, Thorold, ON January 2015
It would be nice to bring back Diana Sweets downtown.I knew Jim Grammar one of the owners and I still have stamps from Greece he gave me.
Submitted by Damari Hernandez - August 1, 2014
When I first came to Canada in1987 with my two sisters and mom and dad, we met a lady named Maria Correa. She was the owner at that time. She gave a job to my mom as a cook. And from there my sister's and I would help my mom before and after school peaking potatoes at list putting them in the old patato pealer. We also cut the onions for the day.The basement was so scarry it would go from the back of kitchen, witch was dimly lit.to go to the basement from the kitchen was scary the stareway was narrow and little steep. To the right was the patato peiler and a big walk in fridge. There was an open space were they kept supplies. Then you had to go thru this long dark halllway with some twitching lights that would go on and off. The most scariest area was that long corridor. To the rift of the long corridor were some rooms. One in particular was a dark dark room. That long corridor I would run as fast as I could, that room scared me so much but that's how we would go to the front. When at the front they needed those tall 50s icecream floats with a cherry on top. When you get to the bottom of the stairs at the front part of the basement to the right was a washroom you would have to climb a couple of stairs. Those stairs were a bit wider. Those stairs would take you to the hall way that went along the side of the restaurant and would take you to the kitchen. We did not use that one because the waitresses would use that hall when the restaurant was full. So to get the orders fast to the clients they went thru there. Mike this really nice guy that worked the faunten and were they made my special and most favorite drink till this day. And of course it was the Coca-Cola with cherries, or coke and cherry soda. He always would put extra cherries and cherry juice in mine. The the front antrace were coming in you would see this beautiful floor it looked old but we would shine and clean those floors until we could see our faces in them. I didn't mined I loved that restaurant. Then of course the bouthes they were 3 rows of bouthes one on each side of the walls and one in the middle. Then before you would go into the kitchen on each side would be the costomers washrooms. I think the men's was on the left and woman's on the right. In the back bouthes my mom would bring us breakfast,lunch, and dinner. That was in the summer of course. Doring school time we helped in the morning very early like around 4:00.a.m. because my mom would put us on the back of her trycicle, those ones with the bascket in the back. Then after we were done helping mom we drove the bike back home to get ready to walk to school. We did this on a regular basis that we oven got on the newspaper. The st.catharines standard. They took a picture. We didn't even noticed until Maria the owner and practecly family showed it to us. We were laughing so hard. I will always remember my years there helping mo. But anyways in the kitchen there were some stairs that go to the second floor were the best bread and paistries were made by a very very sweet lady named Margaret. And her husband would come to help with doing that . His name was nut I think that's how it's spelled. He was also very nice. Because Margaret was the head sheff, my mom would help her out. Also they would invite us to there house and we would help them cantomatoes and fruits. And at the restaurant she would make the best rum cake. You could really taste the rum. Ummm. Also in the kitchen was the big dish washer were you would put on this square shaped trays made of plastic all the dishes that the customers used. The man who ran the mashing his name I can't remember but his nails I will never forget. He had such long nails especially the little finger one it was so long that it would coral around. He was nice too. And what can I say about the girls they were the best. We really were a big familly. And the best part of working there was of course the food. For me was the ground beef tostadas. And the fish and ships and coleslaw. Wich when I got older I made. What can I say it was gooood. And the meatloaf was so dilishes, with the cheese melting over it. The roast beef with gravy and mush patato with pease on the side. They would put gravy on the mush patatoes too. You could ask for cheese on top too. And the best perk was when we could go at the front of the store to watch the grape and wine parade. We always had front seats. It was the best time of my life those years I spent there. I would love to go back there one last time. I really wish that would come true. I have many health problems. And that would be my wish before I die. P.s. the reason they sold Mexican and candian food was because Maria correa the owner was half Mexican and half colonbien and she loved that restaurant and this country. Like I do. I always wanted one day to own this restaurant. So thank you for letting me tell my story about Diana Sweets. It was the best place in town. Thanks. Damari Juarez Hernandez. Formally Damari Velasco. I also wrote my name on the last booths at the back. I wonder if they are still do
Submitted by Sharon Martin - July 27, 2014
Diana Sweets was where you went to buy Special Easter Treats, Easter Eggs were a work of Art.
Submitted by Barbara Amiel Black - March 1, 2014
Thank you so much for this page. I was in St. Catharines at St CC&VS from 1956-59 and worked after school at Levitts and Wallaces. My best friend Louise Lore and I would go in to Diana Sweets to try out our very sophisticated cigarette holders (I couldn't inhale but blew smoke out through my nose) and have soda floats. We were always in the middle of some terrible heartbreak that could only be solved by going into DS and drowning our sorrows in whipped cream and ice cream. A chord of nostalgia sounded when Frank Coy listed his friends names (I think Molly Coy may be his sister and she was a lovely girl in my class) and mentioned Richard Robertson. I believe Richie was the son of the Mayor and I went out with him a couple of times and had a wild crush. He dropped me for his real girlfriend Sharon Chambleau at a New Year's Eve party on Glenridge one wintry night. Louise and I spent a lot of time over that feeding the jukebox and sipping sodas in between puffing and lamenting the difficulty of getting boys to do our bidding. Possibly it was the innocence of youth but life was so very sweet and Diana Sweet's was the perfect name for the perfect place. -
Submitted by: Jim Baker, February 7, 2014
My Dad, Ernie Baker, was the manager of Wallace's in the 1950s and Diana Sweets was his favorite lunch spot- A "Cheers"-kind -of-place, where everybody knew your name. We moved to Buffalo in 1961, but my Dad returned to Wallace's for a stint in the 70s. St Kitts was a great place to grow up!
Submitted by: Angela Christine "Aloma's Daughter", November 10, 2013
Ohhh, I'm so happy to have found this page. I often tell people about Diana Sweets and how wonderfully unique it was. I've never come across anything like this treasure in the many years since I was last there. My mom worked there and I have fond memories of Peter in his white coat and hat, the warmth of the atmosphere when first walking in, all those amazingly displayed home made chocolates - just the overall atmosphere itself was magical. Thank-you, Peter, for creating some of the warm memories of my childhood. Angela Christine
Submitted by: John Martynuk, October 22, 2012
I understand that one of the leaded Tiffany lamps from the Diana Sweets Restaurant is being auctioned in November by Plato Auctions in St. Catharines. Possible that it will go to USA ... It seems a shame that our local heritage goes south of the border once again!
There were two lamps in the restaurant when it opened, both were custom made since they were "half-domes." From what I remember when I was young, there was one on each side wall of the restaurant, one above the soda fountain and the other above the candy display cabinet.
When there was a re-model done in the seventies, I believe it was an employee who ended up with both shades. He put one up for sale at an antiques shop in St Catharines where it sat for about twelve months. Thinking the asking price was just under four thousand. I had no place for it at that time and also, didnt like the asking price. They were quite large, but I dont remember exactly how big: three feet across would be a guess.
It actually sold soon afterwards for somewhat over three thousand (about 25 years ago) and has been sitting since. No idea as to current value with this economy but it was the only leaded shade I have ever seen that mounted to a wall, not intended to be used as a hanging lamp.
There is/was a photo of the interior, showing both shades in place and taken looking towards St. Paul Street. I was interested in the photo snce it was taken right when the Diana Sweets opened, or actually just before. Have never seen another photo looking out, rather than into the building. I think that is going up with the lamp in November. I do know that when some paople asked about making copies of the photo, that has never happened, so it may make it a bit more interesting.
Submitted by: Mary Balsom, Sept 20, 2011
I remember growing up and going downtown with my mom on Saturdays - downtown visits to Wallace's, The Model, Diana Sweets & Tamblyns, Lincoln Theatre, all memories growing up in St. Catharines and downtown with my mom - eating/shopping/movies.
Submitted by: Sally Kyler, Sept 20, 2011
Diana Sweets after school for a cherry cola and fries with gravy...or when I was really little, riding the elevator at Wallaces with the assistance of Miss Elevator Operator in her white gloves...or the clown at Eatons on St. Paul St. Or being one of the crazy's flying down Suicide Hill after a great snow fall.
Submitted by: Delores & Gord Halliwell, Sept 20, 2011
In the fifties we looked forward to rice pudding, after their great hamburgers & fries with gravy. while carving our names in the booths . At that time we were single,and now have celebrated 53 yrs of marriage,also national bakery had great jelly donuts. Wut a great era. Someone should buy all the booths and open another Di ''wow''
Submitted by: Colleen Scott, June 27, 2011
I grew up in Port Dalhousie and part of my childhood involved a trip to St. Paul street at least once a month. A visit to Diana Sweets was the highlight of every trip. I remember the multi-colored sodas and nearly losing my retainer. Thank goodness a observant waitress noticed it wrapped in a napkin and rushed to bring to me. I was happily suprised to find preserved parts of Diana Sweets inside Clare's Harley location. I was overwhelmed by wonderful memories.
Submitted By: Beth Vanderloos - June 24, 2011
I am trying to find out the secret ingredients to the macaroni salad that the Home Bakery in Zellers made back in the 1950's. Great history from St. Paul St. along with Diana Sweets .........
Submitted By: Margaret Sheppard -Bromberg May 26, 2011
During the late thirties, my sister tess and I looked forward to going 'downtown' Christmas shopping with our grandmother. We knew that the climax of a day going through E eatons and Simpsons with our beloved'Gram' meant a festive treat at the famed 'Diana Sweets' on Yonge Street. WE looked forward so much to that treat, as we were going through hard times, and looking forward to that special treat at Diana's was winderfully satisfying treat for us. It was a beautiful place with great tasting as I recall, I am now 87 years old!
Submitted by: L. Park, March 30, 2011
My first job after University in 1964 was with Household Finance on St Paul St just above Diana Suites. I had lunch at the Di every day as it was quick & always tasty. Does anyone have the address on St Paul where the Di was located? I currently live in Corunna, Ontario but will be in the St Kitts area next week. (Answer) 115 St. Paul Street.
Submitted by Craig Danyi, March 20, 2011
I don't have long history with The Di, but for the few years in early 80s, my lunches were spent there. Being a Yank, I never heard of gravy on French Fries until I tried them there. Yet today, I will often sneak some gravy on them and relive the feeling. Second item that always amazed me was the ladies NEVER wrote any of the orders down and NEVER missed anything. At the time, most of the ladies working there were "senior" and could remember everyone in our booth's order. Now that I am a "senior", its even more amazing. Good luck saving her. Wish I could trip back again.
Submitted by:Paul Dermody, December 8, 2010
I noticed Hilary DUff'd comments from June 27/2010 and I too remember the Yonge street location. Any idea when it closed? I proposed to my wife there, and she accepted Dec 14,1979. We have been married 30 years and it would be nice to surprise her with some memories of that location! Any help would be appreciated!!
Submitted by: David MacFarlane, November 13, 2010
I'm trying to track down information about Mrs. Rankin who taught dancing at the Royal Connaught in Hamilton on Friday nights (my era was circa 66, 67 or so). Can you help? I find a reference to her here, but can't seem to find it on this page. Thanks. David Macfarlane
Submitted by: Len Dennis, August 10, 2010
Just found this site while surfing. Wonderful idea. My first summer job in the mid 60's was working the front counter (job title at the time would be soda jerk but also chief cup and glass washer; I must have washed a bazillion glasses there). My first boss was Pete Droganes. Really, really nice man. And funny too; his dry sense of humour really helped the day go by. I remember making and having my first cherry coke (and vanilla cokes too) here. Some people liked chocolate cokes too but I could never find the attraction. Old man Grammar would show on occasion but I didn't have much to do with him. Don't remember the names of the waitress' (one was Louanne or Louella maybe) but I know I really liked ;) the younger blonde one.
Submitted by: Heather Duff, June 27, 2010
I remember 2 Diana Sweets restarants in Toronto. One, on Young St, across from Eatons and one on Bloor, between Young and University. Are there no Diana Sweets around anymore? I used to eat there as often as possible when I was in Highschool, and working at Eatons, and when I worked at Bell Tel on Bloor. Fabulous food. Remember their steak sandwich on a Kaiser, waldorf Salad, and , of course, choc. cake. Fantastic. That was in the late 1950's. I am craving a taste again. Heather
Submitted by: Linda Atkins-Schoenle, April 11, 2010
Oh how I remember the Diana Sweets. Every Friday after school. My parents, sibblings and I would walk to downtown St. Paul St. for our weekly shopping and a much anticipated dinner at the Di. We would shop for groceries at Loblaws on Queens St., Baked goods at Jones Bakery where my Dad loved to get his Eccles cakes and Tamblyn's Pharmacy for any baby supplies. Then we would meet my Aunt and Grandmother and head for the Di. There my Dad would always order a hot beef sandwich, my Mom would order fish and chips or an egg salad sandwich and I always had fries with gravy. It was so much fun reading all the names around the back of the booth and sometimes we would even see someone we knew. Sometimes we even had a wonderful cold icecream soda that we saw them making in the front of the restaurant. My favourite was a rootbeer soda. We used to have great fun reading all the names around the walls of the booth and sometimes we would even find someone we knew. Oh what fond memories of that wonderful place. I am glad it is coming back to NOTL and I plan to take my grandchildren there. I wonder if they will still have the tables with the gum stuck all over the underneath of them.
Submitted by: Lana Wikobrado, September 28, 2009
Diana Sweets was my favorite restaurant. Last time I ate there was my anniversary minus my ex. Was having fun with Lois. The waitress asked us why we were laughing, told her ex left but best friend still celebrated, that was when we met on my wedding day. Food was great. Moving back to the city soon, just retired.
Submitted by: Goober Mitchell, Unknown Town, July 19, 2009
Diana Sweet's was a most welcome oasis for many a Ridley College student. On a typical Wednesday afternoon, a dozen of us would pour into sveral booths at the rear of the store. Those addicted to demon nicotine would command a view of the front door from the back booth. Usually, we'd order a coke, chips & gravy, and a well-done burger. With separate bills for each student, it was easy to nick a free lunch every now and then! I spent several rainy afternoons carving my girlfriends' names on the left-hand side booths. Forty years on, I wonder if they've survived?
Submitted by: Rosalind Went, St. Catharines, ON March 11, 2009
Hello Sally, I am a local writer working on a book - a pictorial essay - about my husband's late cousin, Bruce Bradley, who lived in St. Catharines during the 1930s and 1940s and attended the Collegiate. He took remarkable photographs during the '40s as a teenager, but succumbed to mental illness in his twenties and ultimately lived his life on the streets of Toronto. I just wanted to mention that I have placed a link on my blogsite to your Diana Sweets' page as I have a couple of Bruce's photographs taken at the restaurant in the late '40s.
Submitted by: Mary Anne McAleese, March 8, 2009
Sally, each time I come back to visit and travel down St. Paul Street I think back to my youth and always that part of St. Catharines figures into the memories. Not just the Di but all of downtown. The Y, the market square, Eatons, Wallace's, Potter and Shaws and the national bakery. The three movie theaters and the arena as well as the library. All of those spots are intact and held dear in my memory. For most of us the Di was a right of passage. A special treat with parents and grandparents when we were young and a spot to meet with friends on the way home from high school. It was a safe place to see and be seen and to go on a first date. Before it closed my dad and I took my eldest daughter there for a chocolate sunday after her first Grape Parade. I felt sad that when she came to St. Catharines to attend Ridley the Di was no longer holding court on St. Paul. I hope the new owners of the booths don't refinish them to the point of removing the etchings that were so much a part of the whole experience.
Submitted by: Dale Bell, Rothesay, NB, January 7th, 2009
I grew up in St. Catharines but moved away in 1983. With all my family still living there, I was back regularly for most holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc., until recently & was disappointed to not be able to have my kids experience the charms of Diana Sweets. I took them to Niagara Falls, Avondale on Read Rd., we've watched ships going up & down the canal & been caught by the bridge, gone to Port Dalhousie, Balls Falls, NOTL, but no Diana Sweets. I will make a point of looking you up my next trip back to St. Catharines, known to all I've met since moving away as "thegardencityhubofthegoldenhorseshoe"!
Submitted by: Rob Mellor, Niagara Falls, ON, December 17th, 2008
I'm almost 60 years old. I was born in St. Catharines. I attended Ferndale Elementary School, Merritton High School and the St. Catharines Collegiate. As a kid I would find any way possible along with my friends to head down town on Saturday mornings for the Searial Movies. Walk, hitch or ride our bikes! The Lincoln, Capital and Centre Theatres offered continuing sagas of adventure movies every week. They also played the latest horror movies and teen flicks later like Beach Blanket Bingo with Franki Avalon and annette Funichello with "Eric von Zipper". Diana Sweets was always the place you headed either before and or after your entertainment. Good God! My mother took me their for floats, sodas, cherry cokes, vanilla cokes and great food after she finished drying out Wollworths department store of their goods! 50's to 60's and teens for sure!!!
Submitted by: Holly Masson-MacDonald, Vancouver, BC, November 16th, 2008
After my cousin Barb left St. Catharines for California, and me to Toronto in the 60's, we always reununited at the Diana Sweets when visiting St. Catharines. To our utter dismay, the last time we were back, the "Di" was gone. You cannot imagine how deflated we both were. It was as if our teen-aged years just went up in smoke, poof, gone.
I now live in Vancouver, and often suggest to Barb that we go back to St. Catharines, although few of our relatives reside there anymore. Barb's response remains steadfast, "it's just not the same with the "Di" gone.
Please let me know more about how we can see the "Di" again, I am sure I can now lure my cousin back for a visit.
Submitted by: John Cassidy, address unknown Ontario, November 16th, 2008
Spent many, many hours at the Di in the early 50's. I always remember for 15 cents you could get a Maple Sundae (the cheapest thing on the menu) one scoop of ice cream smothered in Maple Syrup.
At dinner time, you could not beat their Breaded Veal Cutlet (secret sauce) peas and fries.
Submitted by: Barbara Jones, San Diego, California, November 16th, 2008
I was born in St.Catharines, and moved to California in 1963. On ALL my visits back home the one stop I had to make was the "Di" for their egg salad sandwiches!!! and of course french fries. when it closed I stop going home, just went to Toronto to visit my sister. I even have one of their old menus. It was THE place to hang out!! glad she is back!
Submitted by: Jane Nicholls, address unknown October 1st, 2008
Hi Sally, I enjoyed reading the memories of the Diana Sweets on St. Paul St. I have many fond memories of the Di, going back to 1955 up until the 80's. Do you know if it was originally called the Columbia Restaurant and Candy Kitchen?
Submitted by: Judson Hefler, address unknown Sept 15, 2008
In the Article Submitted by: Mary Jane Tanner (Harkness -"Harkie"), Jordan, Ontario, July 2nd, 2008, it says 'John ? from Yates St.' his last name was Hetherington
Submitted by: Mary Jane Tanner (Harkness -"Harkie"), Jordan, Ontario, July 2nd, 2008
Yes.. Many after school sundaes and milk shakes took place in my life at the Di. My friends were Madeleine Beattie, Elaine Darker, Betty Jane Buchanan, Louise Jayne, Marion McCamus,Isabel Tanner,John ? from Yates St., Jud Hefler, Frank McCamus, Bill Tanner etc. The milk shake seemed to last a life-time when we went to the Di. We never seemed to be conscious that someone might want our seat. Deals and love stories were started and sometimes finished there. Pete Grammer and the family are true St.Catharine ites and deserve many cheers for keeping the Di. for us in the 1940's
Submitted by: Mar Roy (Spencer), Calgary, Alberta, July 1st, 2008 Submitted by: Guylaine Spencer, Hamilton, Ontario - June 30th, 2008 Submitted by: Elsie Ross, St. Catharines, Ontario - May 5th, 2008
I grew up in St Kitts during the 60's (I know long time ago) but my sis who lives in Hamilton now just emailed this to me. I am out in Calgary Aberta and I still have fond memories of that place as well. I do hope u are successful in keeping the history of Diana Sweets around the Niagara Region and throughout the internet for us who have moved away but never forgotten. Thanx for the memories and thanx for the effort u are putting into it to preserve our heritage for the next generation...
I used to go to Diana Sweets in the 1970s before the hockey games at the rink. Used to order the best french fries in town (crispy on the outside, soft within) and a French Chocolate Nut sundae. Yum. Can still taste it. We also used to try to get in during the Grape Parade, when it was a madhouse. My parents hung out there when they were young too. I miss the place. Loved the dark cozy booths... like snugs in Irish pubs.
Wow!!!! If only to remember the taste of the Boston Cream or Banana Cream pies!!!! Club sandwiches I could never really finish!!! This was the treat after shopping for school clothes in August and sometimes for weddings. When our group would go to the Capital for a Saturday movie...Diana Sweets was the only place for cokes and fries!!! Great memories and the best of luck in your campaign !
Submitted by: Maureen Campbell - April 30, 2008
Hi Sally, I worked at Dianna's in the 1970's great place!
Submitted by: Barbara Earle - April 17, 2008
Hello Sally, I cherish my memories of the Di. Reaching my teen years the Di was THE place to hang out. Not for too long though, you'd get kicked out. I know this, having had this happen to me on a number of occasions. I loved and cherished the Di and its memories. I even brought my son Steven there when he was 4 years old and shared a float together. Now, the Di is gone and my son is 37 years old and I am so thankful that I shared my precious teen-age memory with him. Thanks for keeping Diana Sweets ALIVE ! Barbara Earle nee Chassie
Submitted by: Sharon Biro - April 13, 2008
Hey Sally, I was born in 1951 St Catharines and I remember the Di vividly. My fondest memory was the giant easter bunny's in the front window every easter. I would gaze at them and I wanted one so badly. They had to be 3 feet high and they were always surrounded by decorated eggs and smaller bunnies. My friends and I always went to the DS for fries and cokes after the matinee movies at the Palace Theatre. I remember Mom taking me for lunch to meet my godmother one day and how disappointed I was that she didn't have wings or a magic wand. I smoked my first cigarette in front of my Mom there because I knew she would never make a scene about it while we were in Dianna sweets. Oh, we loved the Di, it was the meeting place for all our friends from all over town. The smell of all the chocolates as we made our way to the back was pure heaven. Good luck , Sharon Biro
Submitted by: Barb Corkum - April 8, 2008
Hi Folks: I have many fond memories of the Diana Sweets from late 40's on till about 68 when I married and left the area. What a treat to go with Mom and Gram for a Chocolate Sunday, after an afternoon of shopping, in the older years after a movie. The young folks of today do not know what they missed, what fond memories! Thanks so much for your putting up the photo's etc.
Submitted by: Kate Robertson, Port Credit - November 29th, 2007 Submitted by: Jon Lewis Allen, Texas - October 20th, 2007 Best wishes for success re Diana Sweets project from Texas! I was a student at Ridley College for three years, '46-'49. Nick Grammar was one of my roomates two of those years. Many, many Friday evenings Nick and his roomates were in the far rear left booth dining "on the house." During my 25th reunion, I took my wife there for dinner in 1974. By my 50th reunion in 1999, it was gone and our class took over an Italian restaurant on St. Paul Street. Nick's years at Ridley were '42-'50. His older brother, John Peter Grammar who I remember well attended '35-'39. I also visited Nick's home, but memory there is a bit hazy.Food may not have been involved!
When I was a student at ridley college in the early 80's going to Diana sweets was a wonderful part of being away from campus. I spent many an hour with my first "true Love ", there eating too many chocolate wafers. It holds many heartwarming memories.
Submitted by: William C. Deligianis, Port Huron, Michigan- July 8, 2007
I enjoyed reading the diana stories and pictures. my father Constantine Deligianis, his brother George Dallas opened diana sweet shoppe in Pt. Huron, Michigan in 1926
Submitted by: Sharon Holdner, Boston, Mass - April 6, 2007
Hello, Congratulations on your efforts with the Di. As a teenager I spent many afternoons sipping on lime freezes in the same booth that my mom sat in when she was a student at the collegiate. I was sad to see its demise on a return visit home and I hope that it can be brought back "in part" to St. Kitts. Congrats again - on your website.
Submitted by: Janet Greer, Edmonton, AB - February 28, 2007
Mid 60's to mid 70's it was a great treat to take the bus from merriton to downtown with my grandmother for shopping and the stop over at Diana Sweets for a canteloupe sundae.
Submitted by: Els Agnew, St. Catharines- February 14, 2007
When I first came to Canada,St.Catharines Diana Sweets was a large part of the city's ambiance. It was a great place to meet friends as teenagers, the fries were the best and the icecream bar was second to none. As my english was not the best or none to speak of I was always able to make my self understood the staff was great and I think that when we lost that great restaurant with it's rich wood, soda fountain and the feel of old time restaurant we lost more than just that, but we lost the feel of what the city was all about, friendly, compassion and the small town feel.
Submitted by: Pamela Grammar, St. Catharines- January 5, 2007
Just for fun I was searching the internet to see if there was information about the Diana Sweets and came across your website. I am impressed with your effort to revive the memories of this restaurant that is especially close to my heart because it is a part of my grandfather(Peter Grammar/owner) who I unfortunately did not get to know because he passed away before I was born. I felt very sad when they sold and removed the contents of the restaurant and sent them to Buffalo when they belong here. I felt like a part of my connection with my Grandfather was taken away. I agree this is a part of St. Catharines' history and should be returned where it belongs and has significant meaning. Thank You
Submitted by: Dan Hilton, St. Catharines- September 15, 2006
The Di was a staple in downtown St. Catharines while I was growing up (1970's, 1980's). We used to go and hang out there for the floats and atmosphere. It was a great place to get a clubhouse sandwich and take a special person out to lunch. It would be great to get its historic/antique contents back to St. Catharines so we could all enjoy the memories again and perhaps create some new ones. GO FOR IT, Friends of the Di!
Submitted by: Elizabeth Finnie, St. Catharines- July 19, 2006
The Di was a big part of our social life when we were kids growing up in the 50s and 60s. If we had a little money we could always go to the Di for a treat - 15 cents for a lime freeze, 25 cents for a chocolate sundae. There was always something going on...you always knew some kids in the other booths, and you hoped there might be a favourite boy, especially a Ridley boy. My friend's older brother was banned, for life I believe, for filling the sugar bowl with salt. In the 70s and early 80s I went there a lot for lunch with fellow Library staff. It was cheap, good and fast, and most of the waitresses were nice. I feel sorry now that we always asked for separate checks. My last vivid memory of the 'old' Di is the summer of 1983 when I brought in my new baby, Peter (now 23) to show off to the waitresses. Those days were so much fun, we never thought they would end.Submitted by: D. Lynda Cochrane, St. Catharines- June 22, 2006
In my memory bank I have created a special corner where I have deposited a kaleidoscope of Diana Sweets recollections. As I journey into the past, a collage of scenes dance before my eyes: Peter attired in his pristine, white jacket, positioned behind the soda fountain whipping up his ice cream delights; waiting impatiently for a vacant booth during the lunch-hour rush, while continually scanning the crowd for a departing diner; relishing the arrival of my David Haram sundae accompanied by a Ginger and Grape Flip; congregating at the Di on Saturday afternoons, following our endless hours spent at Hunters Record Store spinning 78 records; dashing into the Di before 9 am to order my take-out coffee(I worked at the St. Paul and Queen Commerce Bank and kept my java warm by placing it on the creaking radiator beside my desk).
What wonderful days they were! It is not about where we are going....It is about where we have been.
The time we’ve had. The time we’ll have.....One memory, one expectation. Hold them and treasure them,
For they are us. (St. Catharines Centennial Book)
Submitted by: Connie Tracey, St. Catharines- June 20, 2006
My memories of Diana Sweets Being a teenager in the '60's, I spent many hours in "The Di". Their fries with gravy and their cherry cokes (or sometimes, 'Diana Surprises') were second to none. It was the place to be on Saturday afternoons, before heading off to Hunter's to check out the new records - in fact, you would see so many friends at 'The Di' that it was common to go on 'nickel brigades' - collecting 5 cents from everyone, until you had a dollar to buy a 45 rpm record at Hunter's. I wish that my kids, and their kids had a place to go that was as welcoming and safe - and that would provide such happy memories.
Submitted by: Florence Bell, St. Catharines- June 20, 2006
My memories of Diana Sweets were being there in the 1950's and having a cherry coke & vanilla cokes & boston cream pies with my friends on Saturdays. Bring back the Di!
Submitted by: Diane Pilling, St. Catharines- June 20, 2006
My memories of Diana Sweets were with the Junior A hockey players (Mike Bloom & Marcel Dionne) attending the Di after all their practices. All the high school students from Collegiate & Dennis Morris. The girls followed all the boys there and it was quite the hang-out in late 1960's.
Submitted by: Harv & Ruth Emmerton, St. Catharines- June 19, 2006
Our memories of Diana Sweets were when it was our haven in a sea of downtown professionals. Our home caught on fire in the late 1970’s and was severely damaged. We lost clothes, furniture, some of our treasured possessions, and our sense of security. While we were trying to coordinate its repair, over the next several months, we would lunch at “The Di”. It was our peace and quiet in-between arranging for our life, and our childrens lives to be rebuilt after the fire. Bring back the Di!
Submitted by: Kelly (Campbell) Lostracco, St. Catharines- June 4, 2006
I can remember every Saturday, my best friend and I would go shopping downtown. We either went to Woolworth's or Eatons (when it was at the corner of St. Paul and Ontario). Then we would head down to the Di for french fries and a coke or an ice cream float. Like many others, I know our names our etched in those old benches also. We can't have the old days back, but I don't see why they can't bring the Di back. I bet you will see business increase in downtown St. Catharines if the Di came back. And after that, maybe they can bring Kresge's back too!
Submitted by: Kim Payne, St. Catharines- June 2, 2006
While touring the Great White North back in 1989 I met a young lady who felt compelled to take me to the Diana Sweets on a date. The friendly banter going on around me and the character of the place was a real treat, her company wasn't bad either!. Because I was on my best behaviour I didn't enter my own message to the well graffitied cubicle, but I was impressed by the level of literacy of past Di visitors - barely a swear word in sight! Anyway, the young lady became my wife and much to her parents chagrin we moved back to Australia to live and start our family. While over there I heard about the closing of the Di and was oddly disconcerted that it had gone - it had seemed a permanent fixture and I had looked forward to future visits to its gumwood booths. We've since moved back to St. Catharines where I now find myself happily involved in a community project to bring back what remains of the Di. I know the Di has gone, it will never be the same, but the stories of those booths etched in layers of carved initials and the patina from countless diner's backsides sliding backwards and forwards as they idily chatted (and perhaps flirted) makes for a compelling mission.
Submitted by: Virginia Panko, Thorold- May 11, 2006
In the late 1940s and early 50s, before the start of a new school year, my mother would remind me that it was time for our annual shopping trip to St. Catharines. We lived in Thorold, without a car, so our journey would start very early in the day, first walking up Battle and Pine Streets, then down Sullivan Avenue which took us over the smelly old canal and past the high stacks of logs at the lumber mill. We climbed the wooden stairs to the top of Front Street, where we boarded a bus which would take us to 'the city', and eventually St. Paul Street. My mother's idea of a successfull shopping trip was to come home with full bags of school clothes, shoes and books, mine was the promised rest stop at the end - Diana Sweets. All the time we walked, my mother told me that I would have to behave and if so, we would have lunch at the restaurant and possibly a hot chocolate sundae or banana split. Which would I choose? The anticipation of these desserts, covered in whipped cream, topped with a cherry, silenced me through the long bus trip as it wound its way through Merritton, up over the narrow train bridge, past the canals and finally deposited us on St. Paul Street. After an arduous day of shopping we would step into Diana Sweets where the first sound you heard was the soft clinking of cutlery - probably from the long silver spoons against the tall fluted glasses as everyone scopped the last bit of chocolate out of the bottom. Sweet smells as one entered enticed us further into the cool interior, a welcome retreat after the long expedition of shopping for school clothes on a hot August day. I remember the rich wooden booths, the high ceilings, the lazy fans moving ever so slowly, but most of all, I remember the beaufitul, inticate floor tiles in black and white. Now as I rush through the mall with my grandchildren, catching a glimpse of the teens slouched over their snacks at the food court, I wonder if they would ever believe that a kid from Thorold had to spend a better part of the day thinking of the magical splendor of Diana Sweets and the yearly treat of a hot chocolate sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Submitted by: Pam (Rigby) Daniels, St. Catharines - May 9, 2006
Well, where do we start? I can't remember any part of my childhood or teens that didn't include the 'Di'. My parents took us there for sodas when shopping downtown, which was and still is the only place to shop! Later, my friends and I would meet at the 'Di' before sneaking off to see an Elvis movie which was banned by our parents! What can I say about high school! It just was 'the' place to be. I'm sure that if I didn't carve my name in a booth myself, that someone else did it on my behalf. There, we were able to check out all the older kids and the hunks from the Collegiate! We got snubbed by the 'sorority girls' but we didn't care as long as we had our chips and cherry cokes! When I started dating my first husband in high school we spent a lot of time there! We would skip school just about every day and go there for tea! That was until Mr. McCausland caught us. As time went by, I can remember taking my own children there and sharing our 'Di' stories with them;at least the ones we could safely tell! It would be wonderful to see the booths etc. again. Good luck in your campaign to bring the 'Di' back home!!
Submitted by: Zack Boukydis- April 25, 2006
Hello: I support the saving, preserving, and 're-living' of Diana Sweets in St. Catherines. My grandfather, Charles Boukydis was part owner, along with his cousin Constantine Boukydis, of Diana Sweets in Toronto. I have wonderful childhood memories of visiting my grandfather in Diana Sweets, and sometime during that era learned that there was a Diana Sweets in St. Catherines. It is heart warming to read peoples' memories of time spent in St. Catherine's Diana Sweets. My father, who grew up in the restaurant business would always interact with me, whenever we visited any restaurant, and we would talk about what would make a restaurant, special - in an enduring way- not just a 'one shot' fancy night out way. It had to do, obviously, with well prepared, (and presented food), but equally important with how people were treated, the overall welcoming atmosphere and the timeliness of being cared for -being fed. We need more, not less, places/people who truly feed people, not just process them. Best wishes in your efforts Zack Boukydis
Submitted by: Ruth McLean, St. Catharines - April 24, 2006
Submitted by: Frank Coy, St. Catharines - April 22, 2006
My time spent at the Diana Sweets ranged mostly between 1952 and 1957 as a teenager on Saturday nights with a large group of friends after attending Hilda Rankin's ballroom dancing class at her studio on Yates St. I met my wife to be at dancing class at the age of 13 or14 and Gail and I have fond memories of the time spent at Diana Sweets. There was always a large group with us including Tim Rigby, Sam Malcolmson, Barry Matheson, Richard Robertson, Larry Kunselman, Susan Lambert, Peggy Clarkson, Laurel Godwin and more. Cherry Cokes, Chocolate Sundaes, Malted Milkshakes and a variety of Floats seemed to be the regular orders. I'm sure that Gail's and my initials appear somewhere on those old wooden boothes. What a wonderful time it was and what wonderful memories it would bring back to sit and have a Cherry Coke in one of those secluded private boothes at the Diana Sweets.
Submitted by: Gail Warnica, Campbellford - April 21, 2006
Well my favourite recollection of the Di is when my brother and I went to the show on a Saturday, and we would be given 25 Cents to spend on treats. We had the choice of buying something at the show or stoping after the show for a coke float. The Di won every time and we would go and sit in one of those lovely booths and order and drink our coke floats. We were pretty young but were always treated respectfully. I haven't lived in St. Catharines for many years and on one return visit couldn't believe that the Di was gone. My mother and my Aunt when I was quite young 3 or 4 took me there for lunch one day. This would have been in the early 50's. Wow that was a treat, as we seldom ate out in those days. I had my favourite a grilled cheese sandwich. But the coke floats or ice cream sundaes were always what you looked forward to. Hope you can bring the interior of the Di back to where it belongs.
Submitted by: Christine Anderson, St. Catharines - April 21, 2006
When I worked downtown Diana Sweets was the place we all enjoyed to go for lunch.
Submitted by: Susan Marett, St. Catharines - April 21, 2006
I remember going to Diana Sweets in Port Huron, Michigan, with my parents when I was 7 or 8 years old. Was allowed to have a sundae or ice cream soda. WOW!! My husband & I moved to St. Catharines in 1976 & I was amazed to find a Diana Sweets location here. Visited it for the grilled cheese & fries. Mmmm! Bring it back!
Submitted by: Anna Squire, St. Catharines - April 21, 2006
Ah sweet memories of Diana Sweets. My best friends Dale, and Hazel and I used to go into Diana Sweets at least every weekend in the late "60's) to meet with other friends. We used to share our favourite sandwich Chicken Salad and fries and coke. The booths were the best ever and the waitresses always treated us (teenagers) as if we were somebody. These are truly sweet memories
Submitted by: Brian Nahri, St. Catharines - April 20, 2006
I was first taken into Diana Sweets by my parents in the mid-1960s when I was in public school as a treat for being a good boy. (Normally we'd have lunch down the street at the Kresge lunch counter!) As I grew up, we started to eat at the Di more and more frequently because of the friendly atmosphere and good, inexpensive food. Of course when I was in my teens I did carve my initials into one of the booths on the right hand side, about three-quarters of the way towards the back. I guess my handiwork is still on the panel, but sitting over in Buffalo right now. I remember once when I was about 7 or 8 years old, being taken into the Di with friends of the family for lunch. The other mom had more difficulty keeping her children under control so when we sat down she reached into her purse and pulled out a huge wooden spoon which she placed very calmly and deliberately in the centre of the table. She told my mom that it was called "the discipliner" and of course her kids were on their best behaviour all throughout the lunch. Another fond memory that I have was years later, when Maria Correa owned the Di. For a couple of years at Christmas she had the late Mr. Charles Day come into the Di dressed as Santa. She had a special large wooden chair set up just under the stained glass transom, and whoever wanted to, had the opportunity to sit in Santa's lap and tell him what he/she wanted for Christmas. Of course, we all got candy canes afterwards. I have a photo of the Di Santa somewhere. We all have great memories of the Di, and I look forward to reading more of them on this web page!
Submitted by: Xenia (Knechtel) Murphy, Southampton - April 19, 2006
Because money was rather scarce in the 1940's, it was a huge treat to visit Diana Sweets! I attended Central School on Church Street for Grade 7 and very often we walked to Diana Sweets for some Candy at lunch or after school. Very rarely did my generation go out to eat. It was a very special occasion when we went out for a meal. My favorite was Turkish delights (fruit jelly in squares, rolled in icing sugar) with all the fruit flavors. As teenagers, we were still welcomed to the Di except the waitresses would get upset if a group of boys & girls had to go to the bathroom at the same time, the waitresses stood a good chance of being knocked down when they came out of the kitchen swinging doors with their trays of food. I remember twisted ribbon candies, jars of licorice sticks, all the wood trim, soda bar, had to get a hot beef sandwich as a teenager, plate of fries, the milkshakes, ice cream sundaes were fantastic, banana splits. Very private booths - great for dates. I used to meet with Sheila Rolston, Joanne Boyce, Doug Little, Joanne (Walker) Remnant, Shirley Perkins, Ann & Bob Peabody, Phil Zeller, Timmy Rigby, John Guest, Barry Matheson and all the Ridley boys...... good times!
Submitted by: Nancy Dolan, St. Catharines - April 19, 2006
Hey Sally: Bet you didn't know that when I was 16 I was a Diana Sweets waitress and that my neighbour was their baker! Home made pies!!! mmm!!
Submitted by: Tammy Dollar, St. Catharines - April 19, 2006
When I was growing up I had a best friend named Becky. Her Mom took us to Diana Sweets for lunch many times. Our favourite part was ordering a Shirley Temple. It came in a great looking glass with marachino cherries. I felt so important when it arrived at our table, not to mention how great the food was. It was a very sad day for St. Catharines when we lost this icon of our community. I think its a great idea to try to reclaim the Di. There will never be another place like it!! Anybody who ever had the great opportunity to enter Diana Sweets and spend time in its ambience will understand what I mean.
Submitted by: Sally (Hilton) Dollar, St. Catharines - April 18, 2006
I grew up with my 4 brothers & sisters in downtown St. Catharines in the 1970's. We always had our noses pressed up against the glass at the "Di" looking at the ice cream and goodies. My mom took me there for my first "grown up" lunch (by myself without my brothers and sisters - very special) - and I went on my first real date at the "Di" and while eating my french fries & gravy and sipping my "Diana Surprise", I carved my name in to the table in my booth with the tong of my fork (my mom assured me it was o.k. to do so and that it was almost expected). I want to get the "Di" back and see if it survived!
Diana Sweets is a place in my past I will never forget! It was when Sun. School etc. was popular,(mid teens, etc), afterward we all ended up at the "Di", walking up & down the aisles to try for a seat. We sat with our small Cokes (6 cents) & had a great time with our friends at this wonderful meeting place. We also went for lunch on Saturday, I remember having toasted chopped olive sandwiches (among many other choices.) Halloween was another time I remember meeting all our friends. I, also, remember going into the basement with one of my girl-friends, as her Mother had a job hand-dipping chocolates. I hope these memories will help you with your venture, good luck.
Submitted by: Lynette Filipov- May 5, 2006
Hi! I'm 43 and remember going often to Diana Sweets with my cousin, Linda, for french fries with gravy when we were teens. I can still taste them! I also remember seeing all kinds of names and initials carved in the wooden backs of the benches. It truly was the end of an era when they closed.