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5 things you (probably) didn't know about chain restaurants in Vancouver

From one of the biggest chains in the world to the start of something new, here
Clockwise from top left: A plaque at the first Starbuck outside of the USA, The first drive-in restaurant in Canada was a White Spot, The Keg started in North Vancouver, the first McDonald's in Canada opened in Richmond.

Chain restaurants are a part of life for many people in Vancouver.

Not necessarily daily, but most people visit a fast-food burger joint, international coffee shop, casual dining chain or something similar once in a while.

They're also some of the most recognizable brands in the world, given their marketing and need to regularly draw in customers.

So here are five things you (probably) didn't know about Vancouver and chain restaurants.

1. A Richmond McDonald's has heritage golden arches

McDonald's is pretty ubiquitous. It's the first thing people think of when they hear "fast food" in most cases, and (with more than 40,000 stores) there are more places in the world to buy a Big Mac than any other chain restaurant dish (not that it comes with a dish).

It wasn't always a global empire. Back in the days when it was growing, Metro Vancouver was an important milestone for the company.

In 1967 the golden arches were erected for the first time on land not inside the USA. That was at No. 3 and Bennett roads in Richmond.

In fact, while the original restaurant was replaced a few years ago, the arches remain as "heritage character."

2. The first non-Seattle Starbucks

Given Vancouver's similarity and distance to Seattle, it may not be a big surprise that the massive coffee corporation that sprang up out of the Emerald City landed in Vancouver before anywhere else.

The first Vancouver location is still going at the old CPR station that's now Waterfront Station.

It opened March 1, 1987, just a few months before the first Starbucks in Chicago, which marked the coffee chain's expansion outside of Seattle in the US.

There's a plaque at the Vancouver location now.

3. The first drive-in in Canada

As the age of the automobile arrived in Canada, business people looked for new ways to draw in drivers.

In Vancouver, Nat Bailey, founder of White Spot, opened the original White Spot at Granville Street and West 67th Avenue. It had a massive parking lot for a new way to dine.

That was the first drive-in in Canada.

Nowadays drive-ins are rare, but the White Spot in Kitsilano still advertises car hop service.

4. The owner of Canada's first McDonald's went on to start the Keg

George Tidball was a busy guy.

After opening the first McDonald's in Canada in Richmond in 1967, he built more, eventually owning more than 30.

After that he decided to go a different direction and founded the Keg in North Vancouver in 1971.

Originally called the Keg'N Cleaver it was a busy place. There are now over 100 locations.

5. The first Denny's in Canada

While it wasn't quite the first Denny's outside the US (that goes to a place in Acapulco, Mexico) the first Denny's in Canada opened in Vancouver in 1967; now the company is one of the biggest breakfast chains in the world.

And Vancouver was the home the Denny's short-lived test kitchen.