Newly sold Canmore Hotel to close for renovations
Thursday, Jan 05, 2017 06:00 am
The Canmore Hotel is raising a glass to new ownership and changes are in the offing for the new year.
The landmark establishment, a white panel and green trim two-storey building on Main Street, was given the OK for purchase in early December and new owners plan to close the doors on Jan. 16 for renovations to its main and upper floors.
The “Ho” operates as a pub, restaurant and live music venue on its main floor and has an underutilized 28 hostel-esque rooms on the second floor.
New renovation plans include a hostel in the upstairs portion, likely 26 rooms, and updating the restaurant and pub area on the main floor to “appeal to a wider audience.”
Current restaurant and pub operator Larry Scammell said the “substantial renovations” planned for the interior are “long overdue” and is a positive for the business’ future.
“January 15th will be the last day of operations for what the public has known it as for a long time,” said Scammell. “The exterior of the building will remain noticeable and everything on the interior will be renovated. A coming of age, or a passing of the old ‘Ho,’ will happen on January 15th.”
There are no plans to change the name of the establishment.
The new owners take possession Jan. 17 and renovations will commence “as soon as they can” on both floors.
“(The new owners are) going to do everything at once and shut down both floors,” said Scammell. “My guess is renovations would likely take between four and six months.”
Scammell added there have been considerations to make the vacant east side lot of the building into a patio.
The 19 staff members on payroll have been kept up-to-date with the sale process since the summer of 2016 when the property went up for sale, said Scammell.
“Once it shuts down, it will likely be a layoff situation … once the renovations are done, for the staff, whoever would like to come back, I’ll send out a notice when we’re ready to re-hire and they can come back if they choose.”
The new owners’ renovation plans differ from what the previous owners of the property, Heritage Property Corporation (HPC), had envisioned.
HPC received historic designation on the building in November 2015 from the Town of Canmore.
Along with historical designation, HPC received additional approvals from council – one of which would have allowed renovations and expansion of 26 total rooms in a new three-storey building on the east lot.
HPC declined to comment at this time.
The Canmore Hotel, at nearly 127 years old, is the mountain town’s oldest establishment where locals and visitors can pop in and grab a cold one.