Sunday, June 23, 2024

Moon Garden, Aurora Memories from the Past

Memory by John McIntyre. As a boy growing up in Aurora in the 1950s and early ’60s, I remember Moon Garden as Ray’s Cafe, run by the Ing family. I went to school with Winnie Ing who I remember as a very talented artist. We would always ooh and aah over her work, especially when she drew fashionable young women. That seemed to be her specialty. She and her family lived in the apartment over the restaurant. I believe it was her older brother, Moon Ing, who eventually took over the family business and changed its name in the mid to late 1960s.

With the new name came a transformation, both inside and out, turning what I remember as a rather dark place with uncomfortable wooden booths, into a bright and colourful modern restaurant. As a family, we rarely ordered food from restaurants, but my mother’s birthday, just before Christmas, was an occasion when we almost always picked up dinner from Moon Garden. My mother had come to know Joyce Ing (I believe that was her name) through a church group they both attended, and Mrs. Ing always added something extra, knowing it was for my mother’s birthday.

Over the years, the front of the building changed. I remember watching as some of the decorative metalwork, including a triangular pediment above the roof line, was stripped away at a time when so many downtown business buildings were being “modernized.”

Photo Copyright Anna Lozyk Romeo | Moon Garden April 3rd, 2014

Moon Garden restaurant in Aurora is currently closed. According to Google Street Views timeline, sometime in 2015 Moon Garden changed their name, possibly ownership, to Konner Restaurant, also a Chinese food restaurant. Since 2018, the restaurant now operating in this location is Vintage Spice – Indian Restaurant.

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