How the sign of an iconic Charlottetown restaurant came back to the family

The Peter Pan Restaurant stood on the north end of Charlottetown from 1958 to 2012. It was such a landmark that the corner it stood on still bears that name.

The burger restaurant was demolished in 2013.

The original wooden sign was returned to Holland College for restoration by heritage carpentry students. The neon sign’s fate was unknown until recently.

Roger Wells, a Summerside real estate agent who collects vintage signs, came across the sign at a vintage picker sale.

It was part of a bigger lot and he ended up taking it all to get the sign. He put it up for sale in a Facebook post.

“And within, I would say, 30 minutes…I actually picked it up because the phone kept ringing. It was amazing. I’ve never had this much response,” he said. declared.

Many of the calls came from people who worked at the restaurant or whose kids had worked there — it had been a source of summer and part-time student jobs for decades — but there was one call in particular that stuck with him. intrigued.

It was from Matthew Hill, grandson of Peter Pan co-founder Doug Hill.

An advertisement for the original Peter Pan restaurant. (Radio Canada)

Hill said he started getting calls and messages from friends as soon as the message was posted and immediately called Wells.

“I loved listening to stories about when he was building these restaurants and his vision behind it all,” he said. “It was always quite inspiring.”

The family already has some of the elder Hill’s harness racing memorabilia, and he wanted to add the sign to the collection.

Roger Wells is shown in his garage with some of the things he acquired. (Submitted by Roger Wells)

People were starting to bid on the asking price for the sign. One offered more than double the $1,000 he had tagged it for, but Wells liked Hill’s story.

“When you’re a picker and you know it’s going to the right place, sometimes it’s not always about the money,” Wells said.

He sold it to Hill for the original asking price of $1,000, then turned around and donated the money for the ongoing restoration of the original sign.

The current owners of the former restaurant said in 2013 that they planned to build a shopping center there, but the site remains vacant.