At the end of August Bottoms Bar & Grill hosted a wake for Marty Ciesiolka. Memories were shared and flowers, photos and quotes decorated tables.
Ciesiolka hadn’t died, but after ten years behind the bar he was moving on.
The 36-year-old had been a staple at the restaurant for years, pouring countless shots after the bell rang and serving both tourists and locals at many a legendary Sun Peaks party. Now he will manage 5-Forty Café and help open and manage a brand new restaurant in the west village.
Before becoming a Sun Peaks resident in 2006 and a permanent resident in Canada in 2016, Ciesiolka grew up on a peanut farm in north west New South Wales, Aus. He left his home country to live in Scotland and travel throughout the United Kingdom. In a hostel and not ready to go home just yet he met someone who suggested a Canadian visa and a job in Sun Peaks.
“I did a winter, stayed for the summer and that was it,” he said.
He bartended at Masa’s Bar + Grill for a few years then added shifts at Bottoms during the day before switching entirely.
“It was awesome to work there but very taxing,” he said.
Years of long nights, events and even laying flooring and building the bar followed. His face became a highlight behind the bar for those here for a season or for life.
Now he’s using those experiences with his partners at 5 Forty and their new endeavour, The Magic Cattleguard, which will open early November in Peaks West.
The name, a reference to a now-removed cattle guard at the entrance to the village where the snow magically seemed to fall heavier and stay longer, is a nod to the local market they hope to serve.
“It will have a full bar and full kitchen with sit down service but still lots of to-go food,” Ciesiolka said.
He added with more residents and fewer tourists currently staying in that area they hope to become a pub for the neighbourhood.
The move is bittersweet for the skier, but puts him one step closer to his goal of having more autonomy.
“I always wanted to run my own place, I was waiting for the opportunity…I’ve seen how much this place (Sun Peaks) has (grown),” he said. “If we can invest here now it’s worth it.
“It feels good to be moving on but it’s definitely bittersweet. Especially those crazy days at Bottoms when you’re getting hammered back there working with all the other bartenders.”
That step forward wouldn’t be possible without the support he’s received from his previous employers and the wider community through the years.
“As a community, they’re the best. Everyone is so supportive. Living here gives you a different perspective and I’m extremely lucky to be here. Obviously I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t been.
“Working with Nathan and Brian I learned so much, we were always moving forward. I definitely want to be the face of it. You want people to know who you are and treat people like you want to be treated. You put that into the business and it’s reciprocated back, I learned that from them.”
As part of treating people well, and giving back to a place that’s helped shaped him, Ciesiolka has plans to get involved with causes he supports.
He’d like to start with the firehall. Not only is Sun Peaks Fire Rescue right next door, he said, they helped him after he injured himself skateboarding.
With skateboarding a part of his life and also connected to 5 Forty, he plans to bring back Skate Park Pints, a fundraiser for the future build. He’d also like to back the Bluebird Day Fund through the businesses.
He and his partners have big plans and Ciesiolka knows it will be years of hard work but he’s planning on keeping some shifts behind the new bar.
“I’m excited. Terrified, but also really really excited.”