Tales From Vesta Lunch

Someone made a movie about Toronto's iconic 24-hour diner

If you've lived in Toronto long enough, you're probably familiar with the 24-hour diner, Vesta Lunch, nestled right at the corner of Dupont and Bathurst.

Whether you stumbled into the establishment after a night out, or enjoyed a wholesome breakfast with your family, most Torontonians have at least one memory in connection to the diner. 

A new film, titled Tales From Vesta Lunch, is providing a glimpse into the iconic diner as told by an eclectic cast of patrons. 

Filmmaker Mackenzie Alexander Kelleher moved to Toronto about seven years ago, with aspirations to become a director.

He recently graduated from Humber College's Bachelor of Film and Media Production program, where his debut film, Tales From Vesta Lunch, was selected as one of the thesis films. 

Since moving to Toronto, Kelleher told blogTO he lived close to the diner, and became well acquainted with the area over the years. He became even more enchanted with the diner once one of his friends moved into the apartment above Vesta Lunch. 

"Even a passerby that isn't aware of Vesta Lunch and has never been there can immediately notice that the place is special," Kelleher said.

"It possesses a very specific charm that can't be fabricated or replicated and this is made very clear by how many people have gravitated to Vesta throughout its history." 

Kelleher and his crew decided to keep the 24-hour structure of the diner in mind while editing, in order to preserve the establishment's authentic feel throughout the film. 

"Because it's evolved so little, you almost feel as if you've jumped back in time as soon as you step through the doors," he told blogTO.

"Vesta Lunch preserves a part of Toronto's history that is slowly disappearing and is a testament to what community support can do to keep an independent business alive."

Tales from Vesta Lunch will play at the Toronto Food Film Fest (TFFF) this year, held from Oct. 14-17. The non-profit organization is dedicated to showcasing independent films about food from around the world, 26 of which will be featured this year. 

Kelleher's film is part of the Local Shorts program, which is playing on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. at The Royal Theatre in Little Italy. 

The program features many other local films, one being Patty vs Patty by Chris Strikes, which is described as "the story of Toronto's bizarre 1985 'Patty Wars' when Jamaican bakers went head-to-head with the Canadian government over the name of their beloved beef patty." 

Other films part of the program include: Banquet on the Beagle by Joel Van Dyk, The Lunchbox Dilemma: Vanessa by Yú, Half Full by JR Reid, and Coast to Coast, From West Africa To The World by Tolu Agbelusi and Ozoz Sokoh. 

For more information regarding tickets and show times, visit TFFF's website

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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