It’s the “end of an era” for some Halifax residents, as a longstanding McDonald’s location on Quinpool Road will serve its last burger before permanently closing down the kitchen early on Saturday morning.
David Backman, who launched a Facebook event page last week encouraging people to come out and purchase that “one last Junior Chicken” during the location’s last day, said he initially made the post to notify friends and neighbourhood residents of the establishment’s closure.
“I wanted to give everybody a chance to order one last menu item, snap a picture of that beautiful mural, or have a seat in those old ’90s metal chairs,” he said, referencing a painting of the Halifax Public Gardens that’s present on the wall in the location’s dining area.
Backman said the page ended up generating more traffic than initially anticipated — as hundreds of responses are now flooding in from current and former Halifax residents as they share memories made at the burger joint.
“Even internationally, people who are still connected to Halifax that went to university here, or lived here for other various reasons, maybe McDonald’s was their first job, or they’ve got a story from the other side of the counter as a customer.”
Although Backman admits he isn’t a “big fan” of most fast-food chains, he described the McDonald’s on Quinpool Road as one of the few restaurants in the city where one can still enjoy a nostalgic dining experience, due to the lack of interior changes throughout the last few decades.
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“This particular location hasn’t really been upgraded since the 1990s. So, when you go in there, the furniture and the whole aesthetic of the place has been unchanged for my entire lifetime,” he continued. “You can still get that piece of that nostalgia if you stop into the store today, or at least you can until 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.”
Backman, who grew up nearby, said the neighbourhood McDonald’s was a “generational hangout spot” for his group of friends.
“Some of my friends had their first job at that location, a lot of us spent time there in middle school and high school as well, just hanging out with our skateboards and playing cards, doing what kids do,” he said.
“It felt like a place where you were always welcome … those sorts of locations are disappearing, they’re few and far between in this city. I just thought it’d be kind of nice to share that one last memory, one last iconic order from the Quinpool McDonald’s with some friends before it’s closed for good.”
Backman said he hopes the final rush will bring some old friends together, allowing people to enjoy a bite while reminiscing on memories from when they were younger.
As for the current generation of middle schoolers in the area, not much has changed since Backman’s time as a youth — as students were out by the dozens at the McDonald’s during their lunch break on Friday afternoon.
Wendell Lee, one of the students in the area, said he’s sad to see his lunchtime hangout spot close down.
“It was the only place that was big enough for everyone at my school,” he said.
Karla Nicholson, executive director of the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association, described the McDonald’s location as a “staple” in the neighbourhood.
“I’m sure there are a lot of memories for people when they were in their prime and young and came here maybe after a dance or something,” she said, adding that she also spent time at the location growing up.
“I do think there will be a few tears shed and a lot of memories that people will re-hash.”
Although the building will be demolished in the near future to make way for an apartment complex, hope isn’t entirely lost for those still looking to enjoy a Big Mac in the Quinpool area. According to Mark Nelson, the location’s franchisee, a new McDonald’s will be opening next door soon.
“We look forward to welcoming you all,” Nelson said in an emailed statement on Friday, adding that the new spot will be located at 6304 Quinpool Rd.
Nelson said that customers have been visiting the restaurant all throughout the day and sharing memories with staff.
“I am so proud to be part of this community, and my team and I are overwhelmed by the support and love we are receiving today,” he continued.
“People have been coming in all day to share their memories with us and say fond farewells to a restaurant that’s been part of their lives for decades.”
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