Calgary Regional Partnership: Marv’s Classic Soda Shop

Relive the booming 50’s and enjoy a vintage treat

Marv’s Classic Soda Shop is one of those places that makes the drive on Cowboy Trail worthwhile.

It’s unlike anything else in the Calgary Region.

As you enter Marv’s you instantly feel as if you have stepped on to a 1950’s movie set!

You are greeted by:

  • doo-wop tunes playing on the jukebox,
  • waitresses in 1950’s uniforms, and
  • walls covered with pictures of singers, bumper stickers and license plates from the 1950s.

Then there are the chrome counters with swinging stools, and bubble-gum-pink vinyl booths complete with juke boxes.

Just 25 minutes southwest of Calgary, Marv’s is one of the last remaining authentic soda fountain shops in Canada.

It’s tucked away in the heart of Black Diamond.

Meet Marvin, the retro owner

Marvs-classic-soda-shop-enjoy-a-sodaIf the soda shop’s ambiance doesn’t take you to the good old days, then the owner, Marvin Garriott will.

Marv’s authentic 1950’s soda fountain serves the same, frothy cold sodas that he remembers as a child.

“My dad took me for my first ice cream soda when I was 9 years old!” he remembers.

“I wanted to create a soda shop just like the old one in my home town,” adds Marv.

“I haven’t seen this since I was a kid,” is the most common phrase heard in the store.

Marv’s goal is to walk customers down memory lane and remind them of an era when life was simple with good things and good times.

Marv serves up delicious ice cream treats from recipes found in vintage soda books.

He also decided to come out of retirement and start entertaining again.

If you ask, Marv will sing a 1950s classic for you.

As a professional singer and guitarist.

Marv spent 35 years in the entertainment business and The Canadian Country Music Association nominated him for Duet of the Year 1982.

If you order an Elvis burger, Marv will entertain you by singing a classic song of Elvis.

Classic soda’s and desserts

Marvs-classic-soda-shop-sodasThe soda fountain at Marv’s is the real deal, dispensing all kinds of ice cream related treats to patrons.

You can get:

  • cones,
  • milkshakes,
  • sundaes,
  • floats,
  • banana splits,
  • ice cream sodas and
  • other things just like bygone years.


Here are just a few of the old-fashioned float flavours (soda and ice cream combined):

  • chocolate
  • strawberry
  • orange
  • root beer
  • grape
  • cherry
  • pineapple
  • banana lime cream de menthe
  • blue raspberry
  • and rum and butter


A favourite treat is the original Marvello carbonated ice-cream.

Vintage store to bring the 50’s home

Marvs-classic-soda-shop-memorabiliaMarv’s has a large selection of 1950’s memorabilia for sale including bowling shirts, poodle skirts, and even fuzzy dice.

Retro Candy Store

Marv’s is set in a historic theatre building and features an old-fashioned candy and confectionary store from the 50’s including:

  • Beemans and Black Jack gum
  • Smith Brothers Cough Drops
  • Necco wafers
  • Victory V’s
  • jaw breakers


Just in case you don’t remember the 1950s . . .

The 1950’s marked an era when soda fountain shops were the social gathering place on every town’s main street.

Teenagers spent hours sipping malted milkshakes while feeding the jukebox.

Girls wore pink poodle skirts while the guys wore leather jackets with the slicked back hair.

The old TV shows Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley are about the 1950s (if you are old enough to remember these shows).

Visit Black Diamond’s Historic Main Street

After Marv’s, you will want to spend some time walking along historic main street in Black Diamond.

Black Diamond has become a beloved destination for one-of-a-kind, affordable boutique art, furniture, antiques, collectables, clothing and jewellery stores.

The town also features an incredible bakery, quaint cafes and even an old-fashioned barbershop.

The building architecture on Main Street will take you back to the 1920s.

Located at the junction of Highways 7 and 22, just 30 minutes from Calgary, Black Diamond offers a quick getaway.

Have you been to Marv’s Classic Soda Shop or are you thinking about a day trip to Black Diamond and Turner Valley?

We’d love to hear your experience.

Shari Fenn is a Canadian storyteller, inbound content writer and owner of Cross Communications Inc.

Source: Calgary Regional Partnership

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