PKED caught up with The Forest Hill Lodge located on Lovesick Lake near Burleigh Falls, Ontario to talk about how they are using the Tourism Resiliency Fund to help their business through recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic.
- Where did the idea/concept for your business come from?
We are still uncovering information as to the origins of The Forest Hill Lodge. It first opened as The Burleigh Falls Fishing Club in 1924 and the interior of the Lodge is full of photos of people who have gathered there over the years. We knew upon seeing the Lodge that we wanted to continue its story on Lovesick Lake and continue welcoming families to enjoy the cottages and the water.
- What has it been like navigating the pandemic with your business?
This past year has been interesting for us. The Summer of 2020 was our first season running the Lodge. We were excited to begin the season as it always had in May, however, the timing was pushed back due to the Provincial emergency orders. Not the start to our new endeavour we had hoped for, but it was for the best. We instead spent the Spring busy reviewing Public Health guidance, implementing safety measures and adding signage around the property. We were excited to be able to open in July and welcome guests, and felt comfortable that we were sufficiently prepared to do so in the safest way possible. I think everyone needed a little break last Summer, and we were happy to be able to provide a little retreat for families.
- What will you be using the TRF funding towards?
We are very thankful for the funding and will be using it to continue to adapt to changes as a result of COVID. We have winterized two of our cottages to help increase rental capacity in chillier weather, have purchased additional bedding and will be creating more socially distanced seating areas around the property allowing guests to safely enjoy the waterfront.
- What are your hopes for the business in the next few years?
We are looking forward to celebrating the centennial of the Lodge, and hope that we will be able to share it with a celebration with our community by that time. We hope to continue to cater to guests who have enjoyed the Lodge since their childhoods, and introduce new families to the area.
- What is it like owning a business in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
In our short time with the business here we have had to reach out to our Township and conservation groups with questions, and everyone has been responsive and provided helpful advice as we are finding our way. We were looking forward to connecting with many local businesses, which has been difficult in this past year, but we look forward to growing with the community and getting to know our neighbours.
- What makes your business unique to our region?
We are very taken with the Lodge building on our property. I think it makes our resort unique, providing a shared space for families to play games, enjoy meals and sit by the fire. We look forward to opening this space back up to guests when it is deemed safe to do so.
- What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
This area is beautiful, you are never more than a stone’s throw away from water. There are so many areas to explore by paddle or on foot, and we really enjoy sharing the opportunity to do that with our children, our friends and our family.
PKED is profiling several tourism-dependent businesses that were successful in receiving Tourism Resiliency Funding to support costs associated with adapting to public health measures and safety reopening, which will support the tourism industry’s recovery in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.