Horizons Restaurant
By Tracey Rayson

Captivating Staff & Guests Since '86

On any given day, love is in the air, a lofty 1,214 feet above sea level to be exact. At Horizons Restaurant in Burnaby Mountain Park it's more commonplace than not. Over the years, eight staff members have tied the knot to each other, and nuptials are set for a fifth couple in 2015.

Add to that, some 25 weddings are booked throughout the year, and over 900 thorn-adorned bushes make up the Centennial Rose Garden on the restaurant's northeast side. Moreover, the Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods) sculptures commemorate the goodwill between Burnaby and sister city, Kushiro, Japan. The carved poles represent the story of the gods who descended to earth to give birth to the Ainu, Japan's first inhabitants.

And there's more sisterly love. Yvonne Donhardt, manager, and younger sibling Jeanette Donhardt, beverage manager, oversee the front end of the house with Diane Summers, general manager. Now that's a lot of amore!

"Our staff have witnessed countless engagements over the years," says Yvonne. "We've been asked to hide a ring in a dessert, and sometimes in a glass of champagne; without fail, there's always someone popping the question on Valentine's Day."

Many couples that married in the restaurant return annually to celebrate their anniversary. One husband and wife have been toasting their wedded bliss over dinner for 20 years. Adding to the romance, customers often sit on the outdoor benches to gaze at the view, and into each other's eyes. Affixed engraved plaques memorialize the lives of departed loved ones; one very special bench is dedicated to a former busboy.

After 26 years, I still enjoy a guest's reaction to the spectacular view and a sunset's wow factor. - Yvonne Donhardt, manager
Horizons Restaurant - Brunch, lunch, dinner

Views to Vancouver Island

The view has evolved (Vancouver's skyline has grown exponentially over the years), but it wasn't accessible from the former restaurant, The Owl & The Oarsman. The steak house was devoid of windows, typically, the mainstay of seventies' dining culture.

Today, the newly renovated 180-seat window-wrapped upscale dining room is more than a special occasion restaurant; it's a regular go-to eatery for many local residents. True to his "I’m coming back home" lyrics, Burnaby's Grammy-winning crooner Michael Bublé stops in on occasion with his family. "It's always a treat when Michael visits," says Yvonne. "Oddly fabulous when he's on our sound system, at the same time, in our restaurant."

Horizons Restaurant - Brunch, lunch, dinner

Alderwood Seafood & West Coast Cuisine

Horizons specializes in West Coast cuisine and seafood (supplied by Ocean Wise-certified Albion Fisheries) grilled over an open flame on indigenous green alderwood, famous for its delicate smoking properties. The only thing competing with the view is the fresh and locally sourced (whenever possible) menu items, orchestrated by executive chef John Garrett and a team of Red Seal certified chefs.

"We start with the freshest seasonal ingredients and prepare them simply with housemade dressings to enhance their natural flavours," reveals John. Tuck into their signature wild BC salmon, elevated with forest mushrooms, Parmesan risotto and lemon emulsion; pair with Quails' Gate Chardonnay for a marriage made in heaven, or at the very least, 1,214 feet.

Horizons Restaurant - Brunch, lunch, dinner
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