why we're called canteen...
Canteen's story begins in the 1930s....
James Theodore (Teddy) Irvine grew up in the impoverished North End of Saint John. With only a grade nine education, he started working as a clerk at a drug store. In his twenties, after his older brother Artie died of tuberculosis, Teddy contracted TB, too. He spent most of his twenties as a patient at the sanatarium on the city's East Side.
He and his friend, George Riley, spent their days planning an uncertain future. They'd look out the hospital's windows and watch the hustle and bustle at the drydock across the street. The workers didn't have a place to eat. And so, Teddy and George dreamed of opening a canteen, where the busy drydock workers could buy meals, chocolate bars and cigarettes.
When the two men recovered, they made that entrepreneurial dream come true.
In 1939, at the age of 25, Teddy opened the Irvine & Riley Canteen. During WWII, it ran 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The two men took 12 hour shifts, one working, while other slept on a cot in the loft above.
Teddy Irvine married, had a son, and worked at the Irvine & Riley Canteen until 1960, when he died at the age of 46.
It's his entrepreneurial spirit and desire to serve the needs of others, that inspired his grand-daughter Deborah Irvine Anderson to do the same.
She founded Canteen Media & Communications in 2016.