Frontenac Club Inn

From the Blog

Confessions of an Innkeeper: Building on History

It is Monday June 3rd as I write this and it feels like it is going to be a lovely fall day or Junuary perhaps! Since weather is a Canadian obsession, I thought that I would borrow and adapt the title of this month’s missive from a famous Canadian, Sarah McLachlan. Her song ‘Building A Mystery” was a terrific late ’90’s composition about ‘putting on a facade’ and my re-worked title seemed to fit with my showing you how we are putting the face back on the Frontenac Club.

It is really amazing how the project has come back together since the end of demolition in April. Even more amazing is how much better the ownership team feels now that we are moving ahead. While we are still a fair ways from setting an opening date, the whole vibe of the project is moving forward and picking up speed. The pictures for this month will show you several of the spaces as they are emerging and give you some insights in to some of the new rooms that are being created.

To start though, I will share some images of what we seem to get the most questions about – “what have you found while renovating?”

The two images above were discovered on the outside of the document vault in the basement of the Bank wing of the Club. Both of these ‘pin-ups’ are from an April 1937 edition of the New York Sunday News. We are leaving these behind the walls of our new kitchen.

Nancy and I were really excited to see the Ad for Jasper Park Lodge from 1932. We worked at JPL together early in our careers and actually began our romance there. I am the guy on the far right……

The second picture is of a card that was inside a pack of British Consols cigarettes from the early 1940’s. The card details how you can spend $2.50 to send 1000 of Macdonald Tobacco’s finest to the troops. Not something we would likely do today. I suspect we might send a 1000 Boston Cremes from Timmies today.

These two pieces were incredible finds. The article and photos on the left are from the November 1932 Canadian home journal and on the left, a page from the Simpson’s catalogue of the same era. What is remarkable is that these are exactly like our vision for our guestrooms and for our staff uniforms……..

We are working on how to incorporate these, and other finds, in to our public spaces and our rooms moving forward. Let’s leave the past and move to the future to give you a sense of where we are heading:

The first picture shows one of the doors that was off the dining rooms being turned back to a window. The architectural drawings from 1906 that we found in the National Archives showed that these were windows in the billards room of the Club. This and its sister will be windows to one of our new rooms. The top left picture shows the bathroom of a 2nd floor room that will shortly be ready for drywall. This bathroom will feature a free-standing tub!

The larger picture above is of a restored wall that will be a feature in another of our new rooms. This room will have a 20ft ceiling and its own patio.

On the left, we see one of the framed extensions to the building. We were able to add usable space without changing the buildings footprint. This particular extension will see the former Peterson room more than double in size a stunning suite. The picture on the right is a unique view of the Ondaatje room. This looks through the wall from the writing room to the stone wall that will frame the soaker tub going in to this room.

A big part of the work that has evolved has been to ‘discover’ new spaces that can enhance our guests enjoyment of the Club. The new guest lounge will be one such space. This area is intended to be a gathering spot for reading, cards, games and general mischief. Look for an array of interesting elements in this area when you stay.

On the right, are the other two new guestrooms. In case you are keeping score – we are going from 16 guestrooms to 20. These two rooms shown with their framing have been created out of the space that was our apartment. These are both going to be really neat spaces, including a private rooftop patio with a view of the water from one of the rooms.

Another exciting element for us, and we know it will be for our guests and neighbours will be our new bar. Above you can see a design rendering depicting the view from the King St. side of the room looking back at the bar and the doors to the lobby. Wait ’til you see the drinks we will make……….

Hope you found this update interesting. Our next one will focus on some of the amenities that we will have available to guests and start our preview of the room names and their history.

Be well,

Sean & Nancy