Edmonton

Edmonton comedian wants to light up a Burger Baron sign on his house

Donovan Workun plans to advertise his love for Burger Baron on the front of his home.
Donovan Workun is the proud new owner of an official Burger Baron sign. (Rob Swyrd)

Donovan Workun plans to advertise his love for Burger Baron on the front of his home.

The comedian and actor recently acquired an official sign from the iconic restaurant and plans to light it up on his Edmonton house.

"I'm going to put some LEDs in there and then hook it up to my front porch light, so when I turn my porch light on that comes on instead," Workun said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"And then I'll have a remote and change the colours, depending on what holiday it is. That's my plan."

Workun hopes his neighbours in Allendale will approve and that bylaw officers turn a blind eye.

"I hope that they think that it's a beacon of awesome and fun in my neighbourhood, because it's a good representation of me," Workun said.

"My house, on the outside, it looks a little rough. But on the inside, it's sturdy and cozy and warm, so I think it's a pure reflection of me, and this sign will only help."

Workun recently bought the sign — featuring the fast food joint's classic cartoon mascot armed with shield and spear — from the now-shuttered Burger Baron at 7007 82nd Avenue.

He had always felt deep affection for Burger Baron's strange history.

Founded in 1957, Burger Baron was the first drive-through chain in Western Canada. The company expanded quickly throughout the Prairies but suffered when big American competitors moved in.

The original franchise operation collapsed into bankruptcy. The current restaurants, including a few scattered across the Edmonton area, are independently operated.

Without an official franchise the restaurants have different menus, packaging and decor and have little in common, expect the iconic name.

"They've never been franchised, and then in the 1970s they tried to have a franchisee meeting and there was a fist fight and the cops came. I love the whole history of Burger Baron and how local it is, and how cool and awesome." 

'A little teary-eyed' 

When Workun found out his favourite Edmonton location was closing, he gave the restaurant a proper goodbye on its last day of business.

"So I took my kids and we got pictures taken, and I talked to the owner. And I asked him, 'You wouldn't want to sell that sign, would you?'

"He was so happy. He was shocked that anybody would care. And then him and I both got a little teary-eyed. I mean, it was his last day and they had been there for 65 years."

Workun, who plans to put up the sign next week, said he was happy to have a piece of Alberta's fast-food history that only cost a "pittance."

"Lets just say I paid 40 double-mushroom-burgers worth."

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