Owner Fiona McKean welcomes you from the verandah of the fully renovated main building.
by Deanna Clark – Economic Development, United Counties of Leeds & Grenville
CHAFFEY’S LOCK – The Opinicon Dining & Resort – this region’s much-loved, historic Rideau Canal destination – is shiny, new and full of character.
After more than two years of in-depth restoration work, this picturesque site is once again offering unique accommodations, overnight dockage, live entertainment, an ice cream, bakery and gift shop, playground, banquet and meeting facilities, pub, lounge and fine dining overlooking the lake. The restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We’re back!” says owner Fiona McKean, the passionate driving force behind this massive and amazingly authentic rejuvenation project. “We’ve been working so hard to get where we are now. It’s great to be able to show people what we’ve done and see the energy returning to this place.”
The striking Alford Room banquet facility.
Fiona and her husband Tobias Lutke, CEO of Shopify, purchased the property in 2015. It has been a long road and more improvements are planned over the next 18 months. A pool is currently under construction.
“We have tons of plans for the summer with live music and special events. There are so many possibilities and it’s only going to get better,” she says. “We offer a great time.”
The welcoming and nostalgic Tiki Lounge.
Fiona is making sure this getaway is a combination of nostalgia and modern comforts. Preserving the look and feel was essential, right down to the decor in the 16 cottages, ranging from a single cabin to a four-bedroom unit.
“These places still need to exist,” Fiona says of the waterside resort with roots dating back to the late 1800s. “There has to be something between camping and skyscrapers.”
“I used to come here as a kid so there are memories but it’s beyond that. It has to do with the social enterprise. That is very important to me. There is a sense of community and sustainability. The Opinicon is providing 110 good jobs,” says Fiona.
Bringing the 16-acre property up to code has been challenging but Fiona jokes “it should be good for another 200 years.” Upgrades yes, but it maintains the feel of the original resort.
“We hope everyone will come on site and say, ‘Oh! It looks like the Opinicon I remember’,” says Fiona.
To learn more, book the perfect getaway, or make reservations for breakfast, lunch or dinner visit their website, call 613-359-5233 or send them an email. Follow Fiona and her team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.