Basil Pantages, leisure scion, cabaret proprietor and West Finish fixture, dies at 87

Basil Pantages, a stalwart of Vancouver’s Greek neighborhood and leisure scion, who was often called the “nicest particular person you’d ever meet” to those that beloved him has died on the age of 87.

Pantages was a part of one of the vital distinguished households in Vancouver’s leisure trade. His great-uncle Alexander opened up the Pantages Theatre on the Granville strip in 1908, with one other opening on Hastings Avenue just a few years later.

Basil’s father Peter Pantages, who emigrated from Greece, began the Peter Pan Cafe on the Granville Avenue. The cafe was a well-liked spot for celebrations and Vancouver’s Greek neighborhood. 

Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim founder, Peter Pantages, pictured standing within the snow in 1927. (Vancouver Park Board)

George Mattis, a childhood buddy of Basil’s, had not too long ago arrived from Greece together with his household when he met the older Basil and his brother Tony.

“Here is these two Greek guys, that have been already stars in Vancouver, they usually take my brother and I and deal with us like their youthful brothers,” Mattis stated. 

Mattis remembers going to the cafe the place Peter would break up a cantaloupe and fill it up with the vanilla ice cream for the boys. 

“The Peter Pan was a spot the place anyone that was new to Vancouver that was Greek would go there to fulfill different Greeks and stuff like that to familiarize themselves with Vancouver,” he stated.

Basil Pantages ultimately took over the Peter Pan Cafe on Granville Avenue, began by his father Peter. This portrait was taken in 1934. ( Stuart Thompson, Metropolis of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-4420)

Basil took over the restaurant after his father’s demise. He additionally took over his father’s place as head of the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Membership which began the annual polar bear dip within the metropolis.

Basil, Mattis stated, was beloved.

“One of many kindest males I’ve ever identified. I beloved the man. And so did all people else. No one would say a foul phrase about him,” he stated. 

“Basil was simply the nicest particular person you’d ever meet.”

Pantages made his personal foray into Vancouver’s leisure scene, beginning or taking up the Pink Pussycat Membership, Maxine’s, Sugar Daddy’s, Bumbles with different founders. 

In his later years, he was a fixture within the West Finish neighborhood, having a reserved desk on the Dover Arms Pub and Rossini’s on the weekend. 

Basil Pantages at his desk on the Dover Arms in Vancouver’s West Finish. (Daniel Joseph Casavant/Fb)

“Everyone would at all times encompass Basil, and their day or their afternoon did not begin till he came to visit and say to hello to Basil,” Mattis stated. 

His final years have been spent at a care residence, however Mattis stated he would continuously go to go to him and nonetheless manage lunches with the outdated crowd.

Final weekend, Pantages suffered a stroke and died Tuesday.

“I imply, I beloved the man. You understand he was 14 years older than me however we have been simply good friends,” stated Mattis. 

“He was like royalty.”

Take heed to the interview with George Mattis on CBC’s On The Coast:

On The Coast7:25Basil Pantages Obit

George Mattis is a childhood freind of the Pantages household. Basil Pantages, whose father began Vancouver’s Polar Bear Swim, not too long ago handed away at 87 years outdated. 7:25

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