WHAT THIS COUNTRY needs is a good cup of coffee. Even at 15 cents.
We aren’t just being flippant. If 1967 brings a Centennial travel explosion, the quality of tourist fare in Canada is going to be highly important not only to our own people but to the visitors from abroad.
An informal but comprehensive survey, taken among Maclean’s writers and others who travel widely in Canada, produces this report card on establishments catering to travelers in the fall of 1966:
Courtesy and service — A.
Food and facilities — E, or worse.
Across the country, those who wait on the people who travel are an exceptionally courteous lot. Waitresses and desk clerks, bus boys and bus drivers are almost always friendly, polite and efficient. This is in welcome contrast to the way travelers are treated in some of the world’s tourist centres.
But our gratitude for the service is tempered by some of the things these friendly Canadians have to be courteous with. There are still a lot of well-meaning, courteous but incompetent amateurs in the restaurant business.
Too often, Canadian restaurant food is frankly awful. Too many public washrooms are dirty. Too many people operating restaurants and other facilities for tourists don't know what they’re doing and haven’t looked carefully at what is being done — for about the same prices — by most U. S. professionals.
There isn’t much excuse for serving bitter coffee with canned milk, in a cracked mug, in a Muskoka restaurant or a Rocky Mountain café. No amount of friendly service can atone for repellent food and sloppy housekeeping.
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