Operators of a downtown hotel have come and gone over the years, leaving the future of the historic building in doubt more than once.
Jacquie Jibb thinks the nearly 100-year-old hotel’s precarious days are over.
The manager of the Champlain Waterfront Hotel at the corner of Front and Mississaga streets was eager to show guests around during Tuesday’s grand opening.
“It’s unique,” Jibb said of the boutique hotel and its downtown location. “It’s a place to connect to the community.”
One of the reasons she expects the Champlain Waterfront to be around for a while is the owners. Sunray Group, which purchased the hotel, is family-run. Since it was founded in 2006, it has acquired or opened 37 hotels.
But, as is the nature of the hospitality business, customer service is king.
“My goal is for people to have an experience they’ll remember and want to come back,” Jibb said.
The hotel had a “soft opening” in July 2017. It has since undergone plenty of changes and renovations. The new owners wanted to incorporate the building’s history into the new look. A mural on one of the walls contains comments from customers going back as far as 1941. Old photos of the building can be found on the wallpaper above some of the beds.
“When you speak of the Champlain in Orillia, this is what people think of,” said front-desk manager Sandra McGregor. “Keeping the history makes it stand out.”
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Mayor Steve Clarke welcomed the new owners to town.
Orillia is encouraging development, he said, but noted it “needs to be development that enhances our character in the city.”
The new-look hotel does just that, he added.