Northwest Dance Venues
The Breakers - Photo by and Courtesy of John Gedak
The Breakers - Photo by and Courtesy of John Gedak
The Breakers
Point Roberts, Washington

Some of the bands that performed at this place during those great years of Northwest music:
 
 

5 Man Cargo
April Wine
Bachman Turner Overdrive
Barney Bentall
Chubby Checker
Colin James
The Committments
Doug and the Slugs
Kim Mitchell
The Kingsmen
Lawrence Gowan
Long John Baldry
Loverboy
Steppenwolf
Trooper
Wall Street
 
 

Others??
 

When I returned from Europe late in the 60's after touring with The Centaurs the music scene in Vancouver had changed big time. The dance halls we played, the R & B bands we knew were all more or less gone.

One of the new hot spots was Point Roberts, WA!  Pt. Roberts is a US peninsula jutting south of Delta, B.C.  ( Tsawwassen ) only accessible from the sea or through Canada.  Its about 5 miles square.  Canadians now love to go there to buy cheaper gas and groceries and dock their boats with easy access to the San Juan and Gulf Islands.

"The Breakers", according to Jim Julius who owns Julius Realty next door, started as a cannery in the 1930's.  In the early 70's it was the hot spot for live music including such bands as:  BTO ( Bachman Turner Overdrive - Jim tells me that BTO used this as their home address in the early years), 5 Man Cargo, and The Kingsmen

Apparently the reason The Breakers shut down was because the drinking age changed between Washington and British Columbia. Border guards were also empowered to arrest drunk drivers.

I took the above photo several weeks ago and was very sad and moved because I had spent so many memorable nights there.

John Gedak, August 2006


There wasn't much else on that 5 square mile piece of land but there was a porn theatre.  I remember going there by default when the line up to get into the Breakers was so huge we decided to kill time and ended up seeing a double feature of the late ‘John Holmes’ (Mark Wahlberg’s character Dirk Diggler of Boogie Nights is supposed to be based on him) - impressive from the waist down but I guess I expected more because he couldn't act his way out of the proverbial paper bag that should have been on his head.

Meanwhile back at the Breakers it was rocking as usual and when ‘Loverboy’ did ‘Turn Me Loose’ the place went wild.  It had a great atmosphere and for some reason I remember these bubble windows as part of the decor.

Kerry Stansfield, September 2007



This was an A room that bands aspired to play to, but it burnt down around 1983. The Reef  tavern was across the road and  became the only action there.  My band, Wallstreet, used to play there from 1984 to 1986.  It got so packed in there you could not move.  Then when they opened the bars in Vancouver on Sundays for Expo 86 it absolutley killed the business down there.  I remember playing on Sunday nite to about 200 people, then the next Sunday (after the Sunday openings) we played 5 hours to the 2 bartenders, the 2 bouncers, my cousin and her boyfriend!  That was the beginning of the end for that site.  I believe the Breakers had re-opened for only about 2 months before this all happened.  I'm sure it affected their business too.

Steve Sukert, Bassist, Wallstreet, March 2008



After the Breakers burnt down in about 1983, the Reef in Point Roberts, was the only place to play.  Great room considering it was packed to the rafters most weekends.  I recall taking the whole 20 minute break just to get to the bar and back to the stage again.  We would play Fri., Sat., and Sundays there.  Even Sundays were good up until the bars in Vancouver opened on Sundays for Expo 86, that killed the band/bar business in Point Roberts.  As this piece of USA is only accesible from mainland Canada, the border guards and the RCMP made it difficult for patrons to access the Point and return home after so there was no incentive to make the trip, despite the great ambiance of Point Roberts.

Steve Sukert, Bassist, Wallstreet, March 2008



I played at the Reef in Point Roberts several times in the late 1970's.  The Reef was just steps away from the much bigger and more popular, The Breakers. The reef did have cool T-shirts that read: "Good Grief, It's the Reef".

Ha det bra,

Roger Stomperud, May 2008
The Burke Street Band & Sharon Young & The Restless.



I was able to see the artist Lawrence Gowan, a Canadian artist (now with Stix) play at The Breakers in November 1990.  I still have the General Admission ticket stub.

Bob, February 2009


I was the owner from 1969 to 1996 and was excited to find this site..   I took over the business in when my husband Harry died in 1980.   I had two young sons and worked office hours mostly.

I was there that horrible Sunday when drinking started with Expo '86 in Canada!  What a shock that was after years of Canadians flocking across the border to drink in the US on Sundays, and The Breakers had just reopened after the fire!  The wheel had to be reinvented and I began bringing in as many "big" bands on Sat. nights as possible.  Regulars were Colin James, April Wine, Kim Mitchell, Trooper, Doug and the Slugs, Barney Bentall, and Long John Baldry.  I also had Steppenwolf, Chubby Checker and The Committments.

With the popular long weekend Sundays, big bands, bingo and gambling, business was good again.

There has been a lot of speculation regarding why The Breakers closed.  The big reason is that drinking and driving had become history.  The Washington State liquor control board were on a mission to shut us down by continuously planting undercover agents in the bar.  It was impossible to patrol 999 customers drinking  and know how much they had consumed before entering The Breakers.  Inhalator vans were waiting for our customers when they crossed the border back into Canada.

Another reason was that the Canadian dollar was no longer "pegged" at 85 cents in relation to the US dollar. The Canadian dollar became stronger and all of The Breakers expenses were US.  It was impossible to change the price of beer on a weekly basis or to charge exchange like everyone does today.

The Breakers was a landmark. I still hear the stories... great for my now adult sons to hear.

I would love to know how many couples met at The Breakers and married.

I sold The Breakers to Nick Kiniski in 1996 and by 2000 it was closed.

There have been two more owners since then who are just holding the waterfront property with nothing particular in mind.

Thank you for having this site.

Ingrid Johnson, January 2012


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Last Update:  8 January 2012
Credits: John Gedak, Kerry Stansfield, Steve Sukert, Gunnar Roger Stomperud, Nick Dokter, Bob, Ingrid Johnson