WHEN I WAS a student in search of a summer job, I was driven by a fellow student one spring from Ontario to Alberta, where I found employment in Calgary. That same student told me that if I found myself in Canmore, I should dine at a restaurant called Zigs Junction. "It's a dive on the outside, but you won't regret going in," he said.
The day did come when my camping buddy and I, on our way back from Banff, landed in Canmore around suppertime. Although it was pitch-black, Zigs Junction wasn't hard to find; in 1976, Calgary was not the large metropolis it now is, nor was Canmore a bedroom community to Calgary. There was pretty much one main street, and on that one street was Zigs Junction.
"No chance I'm going in there," my friend muttered, and I confess having a similar reaction to what frankly looked like a hole in the wall where no one in their right mind would even dare to drink a cup of coffee, let alone eat a full meal. Nonetheless, brave soul that I was, I responded, "We've got to at least go inside. I was warned to ignore how it looked from the street."
Perhaps my camping partner was starved, perhaps she trusted me more than she should have--whatever it was, she agreed to walk through the door, and when she did, she was as stunned as I was.
Inside were a number of tables laid with red-checkered cloths,...