It was the impressive view overlooking Callander Bay that sealed the deal for Jimmy Kolios and John Jameson.
In 2015, the business partners acquired Terrace Suites resort in Callander, perched on the shores of Lake Nipissing just south of North Bay.
The facility was closed for two years, but the partners saw value in the property, and intuited that the expansive grounds could be returned to their former picturesque quality.
“It’s a beautiful spot,” Kolios said. “It’s 22 acres of resort and beautiful surroundings.”
Officially reopened last October, the resort has been gaining back business as word of mouth spreads that the beloved Callander staple is welcoming guests once more.
The resort currently has 22 suites where wi-fi, kitchenettes, air conditioning and gas fireplaces are standard in each room. Some suites are set aside to accommodate pets, and a free continental breakfast is included.
An on-site banquet hall can accommodate up to 60 people, and the adjacent restaurant is once again open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Renamed La Vista, the eatery has been leased out to a couple who will be serving up Italian fare.
But after being closed for two years, the resort required extensive upgrading to bring it back up to a high standard.
“The rooms were destroyed, so I had to start pretty well from the beginning,” said Kolios, noting new beds, mattresses, and bedsheets, all of hotel-level quality, were ordered for the rooms and the property’s entrance was treated to all new landscaping . “It took us about six months because everything had to get done.”
Kolios said immediate plans are to add another 10 suites before the end of the year, using a former house on site, which will be renovated and transformed to accommodate visitors looking for both short and longer term stays, a unique option Kolios said isn’t available at most chain hotels.
“So, if you got a job in North Bay, you move here, and you want to stay for a month or two until you’ve found your own place, you can stay there,” Kolios said. “We’ve got special prices for that.”
There are also plans to reopen the adjacent golf course, a former executive par-three circuit that’s seen better days. Kolios aims to get at least part of it cleaned up and operational for the spring.
“It’s a lot of work because they let the golf course go and all the weeds took over,” Kolios said. “We don’t know if we’ll have all the holes up and running, but we’re going to have enough to start.”
Unfortunately, another former accommodation on the property, the Lookout Inn, won’t be able to be utilized. After it closed in the 1990s, the property has become derelict, and Kolios said it will have to be torn down, but the partners are mulling future development plans for the site.
It’s a lot to take on, but Kolios and Jameson are no strangers to hard work, as the two have been business partners for years.
Kolios is probably best known for his popular North Bay restaurants: Churchill’s fine dining establishment, and Arugula, an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria. Jameson is originally from Powassan, but currently resides in Markham. He has a summer cottage on Lake Nipissing in Callander.
As a four-season resort, Terrace Suites has been a popular spot for everything from business meetings and conferences to romantic getaways and stopovers for snowmobilers.
This year’s mid-winter melt has meant snowmobiling traffic is less robust than in past years, but the resort has learned to be creative, and is offering ice fishing packages that include one or two nights of accommodation combined with full days of ice fishing, all for a special price.
Kolios is optimistic that they’re just getting started, and is excited about the resort’s future possibilities.
“February looks to be a great month,” he said, “and as we go along it gets a little better and a little better.”