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Last spring, Bonnie View Inn was one of many tourism businesses to receive funding from the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO)’s through their Tourism Recovery & Innovation Program (TRIP) Capital Projects stream. Funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, this program provided up to 80 per cent of the total capital project costs for tourism operators making adaptations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Located in Haliburton Highlands, Bonnie View Inn has been operating since the 1940s and when COVID restrictions eliminated indoor dining, in some ways the inn was in good shape. A patio (previously a ‘boatel’) offered a place for diners to eat outdoors, even if spacing was limited.
The patio had previously been able to accommodate more than 100 patrons at a time, but with the new restrictions, those numbers were reduced to between 40 and 50. Naturally this had a big impact on their loyal customers.
“Bonnie View’s patio is a bit of a staple in the area, it’s definitely a place people come to in the summertime, and it’s the only one of its kind in the area,” explained Ryan Yates, co-owner of Bonnie View Inn.
The TRIP Capital Projects provided $20,000 towards costs to increase patio space, improve the layout of the patio to free up additional space, and improve the quality of the food they were able to offer from the patio. In total, they were able to add space for another 30 people to dine outdoors by purchasing tables, umbrellas, a new canopy, a barbecue and the lumber to extend the patio.
“With the renovation we were also able to stop cooking off two barbecues and have a proper cooking space where we could serve a better menu,” Ryan explained. “The added benefit for us is that with no indoor dining able to open this gave us a way to meet the needs of the guests who were staying here and who wouldn’t otherwise have a dining option.”
With a fabulous view of the water from the patio, it wasn’t long before word of the new amenities and outdoor dining area spread in Haliburton. As a result, Bonnie View Inn’s patio was hopping all summer long.
“We were busy all summer long…unless it was poor weather, we didn’t have a slow day,” said Ryan.
Overall, Ryan found the funding application and approval process was stress free and easy to navigate.
“It was pretty straight forward,” said Ryan. “It didn’t make us feel like we were having to jump through a bunch of hoops and we received responses to the application quickly.”
About FedDev Ontario
For more than 12 years, FedDev Ontario has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the Agency’s impact in southern Ontario by exploring Southern Ontario Spotlight, pivotal projects, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.