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Source of mystery stench eludes owner for three-plus years

Tim Nelson
August 09, 2018

Ideally, when you step into a restaurant, you’re greeted by a pleasant olfactory sensation that hints at the tastiness of the food awaiting you. Well, it seems like that certainly isn’t the case at one Canadian Dairy Queen location, and its owner is so desperate for a fix that he’s willing to offer a pretty sweet deal to anyone who can help.

Since opening in January 2015, the Dairy Queen located at 14th St N.E. in Calgary, Alberta, Canada has emanated an odor that owner Sujad Bandali describes as a cross between propane, natural gas, and rotten eggs. It stings the nostrils right as you walk in, dissipating over time. Not everyone has a sharp enough nose to pick up on it, but those who do are usually disgusted.

The smell is serious enough that it sent Bandali into a panic on the eve of the location’s opening, fearing a gas leak. “We had firefighters come in and ATCO come in a few hours before we were supposed to open for friends and family. They tested everything and everything seemed fine,” he told the CBC. Things have only got more confusing in the three years since, as a battery of tests and measures like flushing the sewage system (twice) still haven’t driven away the stench.

Now, Bandali is crowdsourcing a solution to a problem that’s led some potential patrons to turn around and walk out as soon as they catch a whiff of the mystery smell. The reward for putting an end to this Canadian Dairy Queen’s misery? One free blizzard a week for a year, which can be enjoyed in an environment free of unsettling scents.

The offer’s gotten the attention of customers, but no concrete answers have been forthcoming. "I've had a couple of people suggest to me it could be the freon from the cake display freezer, but nobody has really told me a concrete answer," Bandali says. "They're coming up with suggestions the landlord has addressed."

So for now, the mystery of the Calgary Dairy Queen is ongoing. Is there a dead body buried beneath the floor? At this point, that’s as good a guess as any. Just know that if you do happen to be the one who discovers it, you’ll have a year’s worth of decadent milkshakes to help ease the pain.  

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