It’s a new era at Miner’s Bay Lodge, the historic 55-acre vacation site that has been welcoming guests to Haliburton County for more than a century.
Boasting 28 cottages, 85 trailer sites, a primary lodge building and several other structures, such as a store and dining room, the business is home to between 300 and 500 people during the peak summer months.
General manager, Darren Powers, said the unique space has been a return destination for families for generations.
“A lot of our business here comes from repeat guests – that probably accounts for 85 per cent of our bookings. We had some guests in July who are on their sixth generation vacationing here. This is very much somewhere people come, keep coming back, and then their children come, and their children’s children come,” Powers said.
Such is the connection guests feel to the property, and the area, a group of 26 repeat vacationers came together to purchase the lodge in 2018 from Russ and Dorothy Wunker. While it’s been a difficult few years, particularly during the pandemic, Powers, who joined the operation in 2021, said business is now booming.
A big reason for that, he said, is a recent change that has opened Miner’s Bay Lodge up to the Highlands community. Starting this year, locals can swing by the dining room, located along Hwy. 35, for meals prepared by a new, five-star chef. Powers said he hosted 104 people for a free dinner in May to launch the service.
“We’re trying to branch out and build relationships. This is such a unique place, we want to introduce as many people as possible to the things we’re doing. There’s always lots going on at the lodge,” he said, noting the store, and kitchen, also offer delivery to nearby cottagers and homeowners.
The kitchen is open seven days a week from noon until 8:30 p.m.
Powers said Miner’s Bay Lodge is also opening itself for private bookings, such as weddings, birthday parties, youth groups, and couples’ retreats.
The most significant change though, Powers notes, is to the lodge’s season. Typically open for 10 weeks during the summer, the facility will be open for 40 weeks starting this year.
“We opened on Jan. 1 and had people here until March break. Then we kicked off the summer season over the May 24 long weekend, and have bookings right through until Thanksgiving,” Powers said. “I have a five-year plan for this place, and the first step was opening it up for longer. It’s too good a spot to sit empty.”
In the name of giving back, Powers kickstarted a ‘Make a Wish’ style program this year that provided free holidays to two families from the London area. He wants to do more of that in the future.
“They were free, no strings attached vacations for families who never would have had the chance to do something like this. The first was for a 16-year-old girl who has cancer and needs to get a bone marrow transplant, so we wanted to do something nice for her and her family,” Powers said.
“This is a very special place to me – I’ve been coming here every year since I was two months old. Now, I work here because I believe in what it stands for, and the smiles we help put on people’s faces. I want to share the spirit of Miner’s Bay Lodge with as many people as possible,” he added.
Anyone who knows a family in need is encouraged to contact Powers at 705-2862978. For more information on the resort, visit minersbaylodge.com.