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Phoebe | by jeffcbowen
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Discover a really nice breakfast café and meet a friendly, interesting person. What better way to start a day?


My artist wife and I drove the 45 minutes to Whitby, a city east of Toronto, in order to retrieve her painting at the conclusion of an exhibit. A quick internet search of “breakfast” and “Whitby” revealed an intriguing find: The Food + Art Café. The owners combined the first letter of "Food" and the word "Art" to come up with the cheeky name The Fart Café. (


The Fart Café is located on a main drag in Whitby, Dundas Street West and it is a colorful, cheerful place comprised of two rooms, both decorated with art. We were given a friendly, energetic greeting by Phoebe, the lovely young woman you see in this photo. The feeling was that of being welcomed into someone’s personal home. In some respects, that what this place is. It’s clearly the labor of love, created by a couple who are its owners and staffed by their family members.


The food is simple, yet exceptional. I chose the big breakfast, called amusingly enough, "The Big Fart." My scone was the best melt-in-the-mouth scone I have ever tasted. I chose peach jam and was told by our server it was his favorite. Eggs and bacon were accompanied by home fried potatoes and the most perfect pancake was served on a side dish with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.


Alison Galvan’s passion for creating art combined with her husband’s long-standing desire to open a restaurant and after years of planning and child-rearing, gave rise to the Fart Café. The artwork on the walls was created by Alison who was busily engaged in getting food out of the kitchen and onto the tables. The story of how this came about is summarized on the back of their menu but is also told on the website. In a nutshell:

“Over 20 years ago when we were first married in the Philippines, one of our many goals was to have our own restaurant. We make a great team. We were and are the yin to each other’s yang. But our first dream, and number one priority at that time was to have a family. So, Noel worked at multiple restaurants getting a hands-on education, paying bills and squirrelling away money while I stayed home really giving my all at being a mum, homeschooling the kids and at the same time exploring and developing my budding art career. We were both in preparation mode, laying the foundations for what we dreamed and envisioned for our family’s future. Today, that future is now. With lessons learned and our kids having grown into amazing creative adults the timing is perfect.”


Fart Café is all about good food, creativity, and family and you feel that combination from the moment you enter. We were greeted by Phoebe and from the moment we entered, I thought she would make a great portrait subject with her attractive features, blue jean overalls, and red shirt and kerchief. It was difficult to get an opportunity, however, because she, like the rest of the family, were on the go serving customers. I got my moment at the end of our meal and popped the portrait photo question as she paused behind the counter. Phoebe said she was quite flattered and I told her about my Human Family project.


I asked her to stand near the table we had been at because it was near the front of the café and natural light spilled in from the front windows, mixing with the artificial ceiling lights. The cash counter and kitchen were behind her. A quick handful of photos were all I could manage because customers were waiting. We exchanged contact details and it was back to work for friendly Phoebe whose parents created this great little spot. If Phoebe has time to share a few more details about herself by email, I will add them to this story.


Phoebe was truly delighted to hear how much we had enjoyed our visit and encouraged us to return which we most certainly will when we feel like a bit of an outing and a wonderful, homey breakfast experience.


I discovered a couple of online sites with more information on the multitalented Phoebe who appeared in a very spooky movie "Cabin in the Woods."


This is my 862nd submission to The Human Family Group on Flickr.


You can view more street portraits and stories by visiting The Human Family.



I heard from Phoebe! Here is what she shared with us all:

"Hi Jeff,


Thank you for the photo, and for stopping in for a bite!


It was so lovely having you and your photography is beautiful -thanks again for the shot, I love it.

Your project is very cool and I am honoured to be a part of it.


A little synopsis about me and my family:


We are originally from BC. I danced as a child and was lucky enough to be accepted to Canada's National Ballet School. So I moved away from home at 10 years old to pursue my dream in Toronto. By my third year my family moved cross country to St Catharines, and I had decided to move back to St Catharines to focus on acting and modeling. By 17, I found myself modeling and acting in India. When I returned my family and I set our sites on our life long dream of owning a restaurant/art gallery. My Dad is the most incredible chef and my Mum, the best artist.

So, less than 6 months later, we found ourselves again moving our life, this time to our humble abode in Whitby. We now own The Food + Art Café, or as the city fondly knows us as, The Fart Café. The name can be blamed on myself. When I was a wee thing my parents asked me what we should call our restaurant; featuring Daddy's cooking and Mummy's art. I responded with "Well duh, Food + Art... We'll call it the Fart!". And the rest is now history. To date we have lineups out the door, and have even had The Jerry Seinfeld in! I am once again concentrating on my own acting dreams, and am an avid rock climber/slackliner in my spare time. I've found the man of my dreams, am traveling around the world, and am just trying to find my place in it all; so life is pretty darn good.


Hope that's all right.


Thanks again, it was such a pleasure,


Phoebe "


Thanks Phoebe. What a fascinating life. Thanks for making time to tell us more about your interesting background and busy life!

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Taken on November 4, 2019