The lodge was originally built in 1948 as a private summer home for the Fruehauf family, owners of the Frehauf Freight Company in Detroit, Michigan
A fire that destroyed a new building of 16 guest rooms at Killarney Mountain Lodge has stalled renovation plans, but the main building additions were not affected.
At Sudbury Living’s deadline, damage was estimated to be in the $2-million range. Phase two of the planned three-phase $18-million renovations was just about finished. The open house scheduled for June 25 will be held as planned.
“We are working with investigators, and at the same time, we want to assure our guests that despite the loss of those rooms, business is still operating at full capacity,” said general manager Kelly McAree.
Holden Rhodes, a lawyer and businessman from London, Ont., purchased the lodge and 35-acre site in January 2015.
Earlier this year, Rhodes, whose mother grew up in the resort village on the north shore of Georgian Bay, purchased the Sportsman’s Inn Resort & Marina, which is also located on the channel.
The investment of about $23 million in the two properties is a boon for the community which has a healthy summer and fall tourism business but is quiet in the off-season.
McAree, who manages both properties, says the Sportsman’s plans to be open this winter. He expects the lodge, located about five minutes away, to be open year round when all renovations are finished in a year or two.
McAree, former general manager of Hastings House Country Estate on Salt Spring Island, says the target markets for the lodge and inn are Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, as well as southern Ontario and Michigan.
The lodge was originally built in 1948 as a private summer home for the Fruehauf family, owners of the Frehauf Freight Company in Detroit, Michigan. At the time, it was accessible only by boat or float plane.
Annabelle and Maury East purchased it in 1962 and ran it as a resort for 53 years before selling to Rhodes.
Many families have been coming to the lodge for generations, said McAree.
Prior to the fire on May 25, he said reservations for the summer were up by 40 percent.
A low Canadian dollar is always an inviting incentive for American tourists.
Visitors to the lodge will be impressed with the changes that include a new “grand room” with a large stone fireplace, and the “lighthouse” landmark that doubles as a drive-thru reception area. Additions include a new residence building for staff.
The popular Carousel bar, built for the Frehaufs, has been updated with new flooring and recovered furnishings. Sudbury singer Andy Lowe and guitarist Jamie Dupuis will be entertaining in the lounge this summer.
The pool and deck area, as well as the boathouse, have been spruced up. There is a new coffee house which overlooks the marina. The marina has been expanded to accommodate 75 boats.
The games room in the original lodge building can be used for special events and weddings, said McAree. It can accommodate about 250 guests.
The main dining room has been expanded and can accommodate about 160 people.
The lodge has always had a reputation for its good food. McAree has hired chef Guy Bedard and sous chef Patrick Tremblay to take its offerings from good to gourmet. Bedard worked previously at the Chateau Lake Louise, and Touchstone on Lake Muskoka.
The Sportsman’s has luxury suites in the main building as well as standard motel rooms in an adjacent building. Cabins are available for weekly rentals. Guests can take a short boat ride across the channel to the Island Spa.
The marina has 140 slips and can accommodate boats larger than 100 feet.
Killarney and Killarney Provincial Park are known for their spectacular scenery and are a favourite destination for hiking, boating and canoeing.
The town was first settled by French fur traders in the 1820s at the trading post known as Shebahonaning.
In the 1920s, wealthy tourists began to arrive by steamship or private yachts. There has always been speculation that gangster Al Capone vacationed in Killarney. Members of the Group of Seven painted in the area and it is still a haven for landscape artists.
Highway 637, which linked the town with Highway 69 , was not completed until 1961.
update from sudbury.com
A fire that destroyed a brand-new building at Killarney Mountain Lodge last month was accidental, said the historic resort’s general manager.
Kelly McAree said surveillance video shows that a bag of construction material spontaneously combusted early on May 26, and caused the building to burn. The fire was discovered at around 3 a.m. by a staff member.
McAree said he’s not sure what was in the bag, but speculates it could have been rags soaked in wood stain or sawdust, both of which are extremely flammable.
The Noelville Detachment of the OPP had previously said the fire was suspicious.