Craig Bakay | May 23, 2018
The history of the Kaladar Hotel is still very much a work in progress, but the Cloyne and District Historical Society has being doing a lot of work and shared what they’ve learned last Monday at the Barrie Hall.
“What information I have I got by reading and talking to people,” said Eileen Flieler, who presented the seminar along with John Bolton (a former owner of the Northbrook Hotel).
Flieler invited the audience to share whatever information they may have during the presentation.
Flieler admitted that “we’re not sure on some of the information, especially in the middle” but in the absence of hard data, the anecdotal information was nevertheless quite interesting.
Here’s some things we’re pretty sure of.
The hotel, at the corner of highways 7 and 41 was finally torn down last month.
The original owners were John Lewis, who was born in 1864 and his wife Harriott Woodcock who was born in 1863. Flieler said there are suggestions that the first Kaladar Hotel was actually located south of Highway 7. The story is that that building burned down and was re-built north of the railway tracks up the hill on 41 across from Tryons’ boarding house.
There was a store on the hotel property as well.
In 1934, owner Robert White decided to move the hotel down the hill to the corner of Highway 7 — literally. The building was put on rollers and horses plus a Model-T Ford acted as brakes going down the steep incline.
The move took four days.
After telling a story about a WW II Jeep being driven up the front steps on a bet, co-presenter Bolton gave a list of people who are believed to have owned the hotel at one time including Walt Vilneff and his wife, former Chicago Black Hawks player Glen Brightson and his father, brothers Nelson and Cliff Murphy6, Ellett Morris, Bill Brown and then Leo Trickey and family.
Then comes the last (private) owner, Andy Anderson, bought the place from the Trickeys in 1989. Anderson sold the property to the Ministry of Transport in 2009.
“I was sad to see it gone,” said Anderson. “The deal is not quite finished but it did help my pocket book.”
Anderson had a ton of stories about the place including Terry Fox stopping in during his famous run and the hotel being mentioned in a Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro story (for the record, the story is the 2004 short story Passion and the line is “They stopped, finally, in Kaladar and went into the hotel — the old hotel that’s still there.”)
Anderson talked about how the hotel evolved during his time.
“There were only seven bedrooms and the family used two of them,” he said. “And one of the remaining five was only 5 ½’ x 11’.
“But we were never full anyways. We mostly rented to stranded people or those picked up for impaired driving.”
Anderson said they essentially closed the bar in 1991, focusing mainly on being a restaurant.
He said he was most proud of being able to donate more than $22,000 to charity, most of that to Pine Meadows.
But it seemed from the questions the audience asked that one aspect of Anderson’s tenure most apt to be remembered is the money map.
“It was just a 4x8 sheet of plywood with a world map on it,” he said. “We pinned up money from guests from around the world including Madagascar and Fiji.”
That map is now part of the museum/archives permanent display.