"Everyone remembers the famous food at Gladee's Canteen, especially Gladee's fish and chips and her coconut cream pie." — Calvin Trillin
Gladee's Canteen, several times voted as one of the ten best restaurants in Canada, was a special example of co-operative and communal spirit. At the centre of the operation were Gladee and her sister Flossie, supported by the extended Hirtle family. They offered a warm welcome and a memorable menu, in a setting brashly open to the forces of nature.
The Legend of Gladee's Canteen tells the story of a popular Nova Scotia beach and a pioneer family who, against the odds, constructed a simple canteen at Hirtle's Beach in1951 and ran it for forty years. The book draws on the author's family associations, personal memory, and the outlying stockpile of collective recollections — a tapestry of events woven through the evolutionary fabric of a small, relatively isolated Maritime coastal community.
The era of Gladee's Canteen is remarkable story that takes place in a small coastal Nova Scotia community blessed with a spectacularly dynamic living beach. In its time, the Hirtle family and its sparkling enterprise thrived in spite of relative isolation, uncertain funding, and domestic demons. As a Nova Scotia epic, the success story of Gladee's Canteen mirrors the recent history of Hirtle's Beach, exemplifying the twists and turns locked up in legend.