A slice of Revelstoke: ‘The Modern’

Mackenzie Avenue landmark has a long, varied history

‘The Modern,’ now operating as the Modern Bakeshop & Cafe, was originally located in the Farwell neighbourhood, before a team of horses dragged it uptown. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

By Marissa Duncan

This article first appeared in print in the December 2018 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.

The Modern Bakeshop and Cafe is one of Revelstoke’s many bakeries where you can find lineups out the door regularly. It’s welcoming staff, cheerful interior, and mouthwatering baked goods make the Modern a common destination point whether you’re a local, or a tourist. It’s a well-known meeting place whether you’re going hiking, planning on a day at the resort, or just wanting a place to catch up with a friend. But, what was The Modern before it became what it is today?

With its original front, The Modern shows off Revelstoke’s historic past through its building. The building was constructed sometime between 119 and 123 years ago on the corner of Third Street and Charles. It was moved using a team of horses and long poles to its present location on Mackenzie Avenue in 1900 by Mrs. M.K. Lawson where she sold embroidery, women’s clothing, and lace. In 1903, Bennison’s bakery, owned by Albert and Alice Bennison, moved in. Judging by the distinct green door that sits above the current sign, it is suspected that originally there was an upper level verandah that was never replaced after the move.

According to Marlene Scarcelli, current owner of the building, The Modern has a “unique history.” The building will have been in Scarcelli’s family for 90 years next May. It was her grandfather, Louigi “Louis” Catlin, who bought the building from Mrs. F.H. Bourne on May 6, 1929. The name was changed from Bennison’s to Modern Bakery. At the time, Modern Bakery had no back bakery or basement and stood as its original front. In late 1931 a bakery was added on to the back, and the building was lifted for the addition of a basement. A brick oven was also built at the back of the building. In 1990, when the oven was taken apart, the bricks were used to landscape Minto Manor, which was formerly The Piano Keep. Modern Bakery remained until Catlin’s death in 1952.

Orange Crush, a store owned by Harold Malone, moved into the building until 1959 when it settled next door and became what we know today as Malone’s. From 1959 to 1979 Tony’s Roma Restaurant occupied the building until moving into what is now The Village Idiot. During a downtown heritage restoration project, the building’s original facade was put back after being covered with pink stucco. The building then sat empty for a few years before Maureen Weddell opened Mackenzie Station Café, which stayed until 1998. After that, the building became home to a few other businesses including The Blueberry Patch and Woolsey Creek. In 2005, it became what we know today as The Modern Bakeshop & Cafe now owned by Kevan McCroy and Josee Zimanyi.

The Modern’s rich history is what gives the building its character. Next time you’re sipping on your latte or nibbling on your hippie ball on the patio, you might find yourself looking at the front of the building a little differently.