History InSite: 105-115 St. Paul Street, 2003.118.4

Woolworths & Co and Diana Sweets, c. 1940. STCM 2003-118-4

Diana Sweets – known to locals as ‘Di’s’ or ‘The Di’ – opened beside Woolworths in 1920 as an ice cream parlour. The restaurant quickly grew to serve a full menu and installed a soda fountain. Renovations in the 1930s added gumwood booths, which became popular canvases for patrons to carve their names. Diana Sweets was a hub for generations of young people. When the downtown bars closed at 11:30 p.m., crowds would gather at The Di for hot meat sandwiches and cherry colas. As time progressed, owners changed and the Di faced the threat of closure many times. Diana Sweets officially closed its doors in 1996.

Interior of Diana Sweets, 1984. STCM S1984.12.14.41

The Place to Be

Our local haunts are the backdrop to so many of our memories, and Diana Sweets is no exception. The interior, shown in this photo, welcomed and encouraged many first dates, group hangs, and quick bites before or after the movies.

There’s More to the Story

Check out the entire History InSite installation and find the other panels.

About History InSite

A permanent, site specific installation, History InSite juxtaposes historical photographs with modern streetscapes by presenting the photo in, or close to, the place which it was taken.

St. Catharines has a rich photographic history and when compared to the changing streetscapes around the City, that history becomes much more meaningful, poignant, and relevant to our modern eyes.

History InSite is presented by the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre.

Graffiti Report

If you spot any graffiti on our purple History InSite signs, please send us a message and photo via email museum@stcatharines.ca.