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Closure of Langley’s last car hop restaurant triggers flood of memories

Willowbrook White Spot will be replaced by SkyTrain station

Linda Corscadden has fond memories of her time working in the White Spot at the intersection of Fraser Highway and Willowbrook Drive in Langley.

She worked there from 1986 to 1994, beginning as a hostess and working up to in-charge opening manager, working with people she described as “the best co-workers ever.”

“We were like a family there,” Corscadden recalled.

“We didn’t just work together, we hung out together outside of work as well. We were friends, went through marriages and divorces, babies being born, went camping together.”

Their customers knew the staff by name, Corscadden told the Langley Advance Times.

“I remember being on strike, and regular customers bringing us pizza and pop and staying with us in the parking lot while we picketed.”

After 44 years, the restaurant will close on Dec. 30, to make way for the 196th Street SkyTrain Station at the same location, the second-t0-last stop on the new line that will connect Langley to Surrey and the rest of the Lower Mainland rapid transit network.

It is believed to be the last car hop restaurant still operating in Langley, where customers can drive in, flash their lights, and order meals for consuming in their vehicles.

The White Spot website notes the chain still operates car hop drive-in at other Lower Mainland locations, including Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Van and Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood.

“Some of the staff that I worked with back in the ’80s and ’90s are still there today,” said Corscadden, who now lives in Salmon Arm.

”I wish I could get back there before they demolish it. It would be cool to have a reunion, and one last Monty Mushroom Burger with fries and honey-mustard dip.”

READ ALSO: Turning the tables

Dina Moffett, director of operations for White Spot said the iconic chain was “saddened” to advise that the Willowbrook White Spot will close permanently on Saturday, Dec. 30.

“The SkyTrain extension has designated the restaurant site for a new station, which means that we will have to close our doors,” Moffett said.

“We have loved serving our guests over the years and being a part of so many special moments over the decades we have been at this location in Langley.”

Moffett said staff were advised in September, and the chain is working to try to place “as many as possible” in other White Spot locations.

At this point, there are no immediate plans to open another location, Moffett advised.

“We are very sorry to lose this site, and would have been happy to continue to operate it for years to come. Willowbrook is a great community and we would love to be back here if the right opportunity presented. This particular site has been a prime location.”

When the restaurant announced the shutdown on its exterior sign, it triggered a wave of online reminiscing, with dozens weighing in about the closure.

Aldergrove resident Jaclyn Van Den Berg recalled her grandfather was one of White Spot founder Nat Bailey’s pallbearers at his funeral.

“For (literally) my whole life we celebrated everything at White Spot in Willowbrook,” Van Den Berg said.

While she views the SkTrain project as long overdue, “I will thoroughly miss that White Spot location… it felt like home.”

Joan Arlington said her “best memory of the Willowbrook WS from was picking up our newborn daughter from the hospital and going to WS on the way home.”

READ ALSO: Boggy land won’t cut SkyTrain line short before it reaches Langley: project leader

The $4 billion Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project will extend the Expo Line 16 kilometres along Fraser Highway from King George station in Surrey to Langley City. Construction is scheduled to start in 2024. It is expected to begin service in late 2028.

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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