The view from atop the hill at Sir Sam’s Ski/ Ride is about to get even better after Dysart et al council rubber stamped plans for a new 60-foot outlook tower at the site.

The structure will be the latest in a long line of investments at the facility, which has become a year-round operation after the Wilkinson family took ownership last winter. More than $500,000 has been invested to transform the main chalet into a modernized event centre, fit to host weddings, business events and other celebrations.

“When we took over, Sir Sam’s was more of a 90-day business. We were very much focused on skiing and a little bit of hiking during the winter,” said Doug Wilkinson.

“We thought we could do more with it than just let it sit empty through the spring, summer and fall season. It just made sense to offer up this space and bring people here, such a beautiful part of the world, for their special days and celebrations.”

That change in view necessitated a rebranding. Now operating hand-in-hand with Sir Sam’s is the Eagle View Wedding and Event Centre.

Event planner and coordinator Kayla Gardiner is taking the lead on this latest endeavour. Welcoming select guests for a visit Sept. 23, Gardiner explained the changes that had been made to transform the chalet into a full-service facility.

“It really was just a facelift to what was already there. We’ve replaced the carpets, used a lot of paint and installed a whole new bar space. And we completely revamped the kitchen,” Gardiner said. “We can do dining for 200 people now, where we provide a plated five-course meal. We’ve also added to our menu for the winter ski season.” The space has been used for around 20 events since December, including the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School prom.

The goal, Gardiner said, is to host an event every weekend during the off-season.

“This is a hidden gem. The response since we pivoted has been really good. We’re getting more people out here and just appreciating what we have. The view from the top of the hill is the best in Ontario. We just installed a new viewing platform, which is a great addition,” she said.

The new tower will only enhance the visitor experience, Wilkinson said.

“I like to say the tower is our ‘and fries’ – it complements everything that we’re trying to do. For people who want to come here and walk to get a good view, they will get the best view from that platform. It will be an ideal spot for a bride and groom looking for the perfect setting for their special day,” Wilkinson said. “The whole idea is to bring more people to Haliburton County. Once they come here, they keep coming back.”

Construction on the tower will begin immediately, with Wilkinson hoping to have it finished before the end of the year.