FORMER SOLUXE / JADE PALACE RESTAURANT
JADE PALACE RESTAURANT
Schematic rendering of the residential building that stood here, according to the footprint indicated on the 1911 fire insurance maps.
SIDNEY WOO (FORMER CALGARY CHINATOWN RESIDENT)
That building hasn’t changed much, just the signage has.
Roddy Mah, who was nicknamed the “mayor of Chinatown”, was the manager in the 1960s and then became the owner in the 1970s and 1980s. It was originally owned by 3 families: Wong, Ma and Kwok.
Woo Yi was a prominent figure of the Chinatown community, part of the Gee How Oak Tin Association and the head chef at Jade Palace. He started his bean sprout business there, because it’s a main component of chop suey.
Jada Palace was a palace with upscale “fine dining” Chinese food, some could say “Chinese food for Caucasians…”
There was a 150-person capacity. Before, it used to be an open floor plan, but the mainlanders who then bought it afterward partitioned the space. Jade Palace was then changed into Ruby’s, and then into New Harbour City Restaurant.
CURRENT DAY BUILDING PHOTOGRAPHS
This building and signage structure were originally constructed in 1960 — opened as the Jade Palace Restaurant by Roddy Mah, his father and father-in-law. While the structure has remained mostly the same, the names of the restaurant have changed over the decades, to Harbour City Restaurant and more recently, the former Soluxe Restaurant. Photographs taken in 2020.
“…Chinatown’s new post-WWII restaurants were decked out to be attractive, “exotic” destinations for Westerners, with “oriental” features. While the Jade Palace was in a sleek Modernist building, its facade (now altered) had expanses of plate glass that revealed the decorative interior, with a mural of a Chinese scene, wall plaques with Chinese symbols, and porcelain statues.
The sign, original to the building, is a fine and rare example of a Googie sign tower in Calgary, along with the former Linda Mae’s sign at the same intersection.
…The sign was custom made locally with input from the Mahs. Its typical Googie features are its exposed structure of steel pylons on which are attached a few large elements in bold shapes, including a splayed rectangle, and its use of plastic portions. The sign is notable for combining Googie with Chinese-influenced elements: lanterns, a profile of a Chinese roofline, and a finial that evokes (but is not) a Chinese symbol. The unique, prominent sign is a community landmark.”
Find more information on the former Jade Palace Restaurant’s sign on The City of Calgary’s Historic Resources site.