Have you ever ordered food from hotel room service and were shocked when your clubhouse and coffee came to $30?  Well, it looks like steep room service prices aren’t a recent phenomenon.

Take this 1962 menu from the historic CP Empress Hotel in Victoria.  Billed as a typical winter menu for the hotel dining room, it includes contemporary delicacies such as Jellied Beef Tea and Chantilly Raisin Pie.  It also lists broiled petit filet mignon with béarnaise sauce for $3.25 – according to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator, the cost today would be $24.94.

The convenience of ordering a filet mignon with béarnaise sauce to be delivered to your room – perhaps while enjoying a nice martini – is tempting.  According to the Empress’ room service menu from the same time period, the same filet will set you back $8.50.  Or, $61.66 in today’s prices.  Although the room service filet does come with sautéed mushrooms. Perhaps mushrooms were extraordinarily expensive in the 1960’s?

If we move over to the mainland, an earlier (1939) room service dinner menu from the Hotel Vancouver has filet mignon for $1.30 – that’s $20.97 in 2012 prices, 19% less than the adjusted cost of the 1962 dining room filet.  Why so much cheaper – the local economy?  Food costs?  The fact that béarnaise sauce wasn’t offered in 1939?

But if $1.30 was still too much for you back then, never fear.  Cheaper options were also available, like a tongue sandwich for 45¢ ($7.22 today). Or a salad of “avocado with shrimps” (shrimps! more than one!) for 85¢ ($13.64 today).

These menus are part of the Chung Collection‘s Canadian Pacific materials that are currently being digitized thanks to support from CP, and will soon be available online. 

Rare Books and Special Collections, University Archives and the Chung Collection will be closed for Remembrance Day on Monday November 12, as are all branches of UBC Library (the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is open but library operations within the building will be closed).

In honour of Remembrance Day, we’d like to feature one of our collections of wartime ephemera:

Poster depicting a nurse within a red cross

Saskatchewan million dollar campaign, June 17, 1922, SPAM 461C

This poster is part of our SPAM (Special Collections Pamphlet collection) and has been digitized as part of the World War poster collection, which features 40 posters from World Wars I and II. To learn more about our ephemeral collections, please visit our Ephemera Research Guide.

UBC will be holding a Remembrance Day Ceremony on November 11 in the War Memorial Gym. Details are available on the UBC Ceremonies website.

Nov 09

Chung exhibition will be closed Nov 14

The Chung Collection exhibition will be closed November 14 for the day, as we install new exhibitions. We're really excited to tell you about these new additions- stayed tuned!

Our apologies for the inconvenience. Note also that the Chung exhibition, along with other branches of the library, is closed for Remembrance Day on November 12th.

A primary school in England is using robots to teach autistic children. Since the actions of the robots are predictable, the autistic children become more comfortable with them than with adults.

Click here for the full article in the BBC News by Judith Burns.

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