Nathaniel (Nat) Ryal Bailey (1902 – 1978)

Nathaniel (Nat) Ryal Bailey (1902 – 1978) (1902 – 1978)

Nathaniel Ryal (Nat) Bailey was born in 1902 in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1911 his family moved to Vancouver where they encountered hard times and it fell to Mr. Bailey to help out. At the age of 12, he began selling newspapers on the downtown streets and at age 18 switched to selling popcorn and peanuts on the city streets. He eventually moved to selling hot dogs, peanuts and coffee at Athletic Park.

His next move in his expansion plan was to outfit his 1918 Model T truck into a travelling lunch-counter and serve the sightseers at Vancouver’s Lookout Point. In June 1928, Mr. Bailey opened the first White Spot drive-in on Granville Street at 67th Avenue while operating various concessions such as the teahouse at Whytecliff in West Vancouver and Newton Farms in Surrey. Newton Farms was established to cultivate the high quality and large quantity of chicken and fresh produce that White Spot needed. By 1953, White Spot’s 25th anniversary, the family business had 350 staff members who served 110,000 guests each week. His instinct and acumen formed a large part of his success along with his love of people.

Mr. Bailey was a strong supporter of Vancouver sports, particularly youth baseball. He was a part owner of the Vancouver Mounties, a star-crossed triple-A team. He actively supported many local groups like the Rotary Club, Shriners, the Masons and the Chamber of Commerce. He also sponsored a 50-member junior pipe band which eventually became the popular White Spot Pipe Band and Highland Dancers.

Mr. Bailey was a founder and six-time president of the Canadian Restaurant Association. In 1968, he and his partners completed the sale of his company to General Foods for $6.5 million. He then started a second career investing in hotels and condominiums.


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