After two years of restoration and $40 million in renovation the iconic St. Clair Inn on the St. Clair River in St. Clair, Mich. will reopen this summer.
After two years of restoration and $40 million in renovations, the iconic St. Clair Inn on the St. Clair River in St. Clair, Mich., will reopen this summer.
The 1926 historic portion of the inn has been carefully restored to its original English Tudor grandeur, and renovations to other portions of the property offer amenities associated with modern four-star accommodations.
The entire site offers amazing views of the deep blue water of the St. Clair River and the giant lake and ocean ships and pleasure craft that ply up and down the river.
The inn’s owners acquired the property in 2015 after having been closed for several years.
The inn is the crown jewel of the small riverfront community of St. Clair, located across the river from Courtright. Once opened, the inn will carry the Marriott Tribute Portfolio brand and offer guests 106 rooms, three unique stand-alone cottages, banquet and meeting rooms, an outdoor pool, transient boat wells and an outdoor amphitheater designed to host elegant weddings.
Lounges include intimate wood-panelled settings to a speakeasy and multiple outdoor and rooftop venues.
The inn will provide 150 full-time hospitality jobs with an additional 100 seasonal workers.
With cottages, suites, elegant ballrooms, world-class menus and outdoor waterfront amphitheater the St. Clair Inn is poised to quickly become the premier location in southeast Michigan for weddings and major social events.
The St. Clair Inn was long a favourite dining location for myself and my late wife, Diane. We introduced the property to numerous friends over the years including King and Linda Caldwell, the late Lou Russel and Don O’Brien and Donny Holden.
It’s great to see the inn make a comeback in a huge way and is certain to attract numerous guests from throughout Southwestern Ontario.
Heard of the Whistlestop Trail?
It’s a brand new natural trail that takes you along St. Thomas paths and parks and then south towards Port Stanley on the shores of Lake Erie.
Saddle up on your bike, grab your hiking shoes or hop in the car and head to the trail. No matter what way you choose to explore the trail you will weave your way through kilometres of lush landscape stretching all the way from the historic Railway City of St. Thomas to the harbour of Port Stanley.
There are numerous whistlestops along the trail that you can check out, including having your picture taken with a life-size statue of the most famous elephant in the world – Jumbo the King of Elephants, who was killed when struck by a Grand Trunk locomotive in St. Thomas in 1885.
In 1985 on the 100th anniversary of Jumbo’s death, the City of St. Thomas dedicated a 38-ton statue as a tribute to Jumbo.
Another stop on the trail is CASO Station. Travel back to a time when railway ruled St. Thomas with a visit to the historic Canada Southern Railway Station. You will also want to visit the Elgin County Railway Museum, Shaw’s Ice Cream, Port Stanley Terminal Rail and, of course, the main beach at Port Stanley.
The shores of Lake Erie is where the Whistlestop Trail ends.
The main beach at Port Stanley is a true gem on Lake Erie. Don’t forget to grab some Mackie’s Orangeade and walk the pier that juts out over a kilometre into the lake.
Last week we wrote about the Puerto Vallarta area in Mexico as being the new Florida for a growing number of Canadian snowbirds. Tom Stewart of Ridgetown dropped me a note recommending Mazatlan in Mexico. Stewart said he and his wife have wintered in Mazatlan for the past 11 years and claims not many people from Southwestern Ontario are familiar with the area. He said it offers a lot more than Puerto Vallarta at a lower cost.
There is a huge building boom going on now due to the completion of a new highway between Mazatlan and Durango. Stewart said it now takes two and half hours to travel between the two areas, whereas before it took six hours going through one portion called the Devil’s Backbone.
Stewart tells me many nationals are buying properties along with expats mostly from western Canada and the U.S.
He said the only downside for Ontarians is air connectivity which is usually routed through Calgary or Mexico City.
Thanks Tom for the information.
The full bloom of cherry blossoms in Toronto’s High Park is now expected in early May due to cool weather conditions. The park attracts thousands of visitors from around the world to see the Sakura cherry trees in blossom.
Cherry blossoms last for about a week to a week and a half if the weather is nice, but if it rains the petals fall quicker.
There are also 30 Japanese cherry trees on Centre Island off the downtown waterfront in Toronto.
A visit to Port Credit and Oakville this week and the Lake Ontario waterfront was amazing. Can’t believe the huge mansions in Oakville and the great downtown shopping as well as the many dog parks and people parks along the lakeshore.
Another highlight of a few days spent in Toronto was running into Drake in the hallway at the Ritz Carlton and Cher in the hotel lobby. Cher was in town for a concert.
Time is running out for visitors to travel back 76 million years on a journey into the late cretaceous world of Zuul, the world-renowned, newly named ankylosaur from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. ROM’s exhibition Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur wraps up May 20.
Heading to the Bruce Peninsula this summer? If so check out Bruce Anchor Cruises which operates within Fathom Five National Marine Park which occupies some of the most pristine waters in the Great Lakes. Fathom Five is home to numerous historic light stations, over 20 known shipwrecks and Flowerpot Island.
The company also operates Bruce Anchor Motel and Cottages located within walking distance to the water and to all that Tobermory has to offer. I would highly recommend the glass bottom boat cruises.
The 160th Queens Plate Racing Festival at Woodbine Casino in Rexdale is slated for June 28 and 29. It’s a high fashion event like the Kentucky Derby. Horses from around the world compete in the two-day event.
Opening day for the huge Grand Bend Farmers’ Market is slated for May 22. The Lambton Heritage Museum is hosting the market this summer. The museum is home to thousands of artifacts, documents and photographs that tell the story of the County of Lambton.
The Tony Award-winning musical comedy Kinky Boots is coming to the Budweiser Gardens in London May 25. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, this Broadway in London performance is not to be missed. Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan.
A Cinderella’s Royal Ball for kids 10 and under will take place May 26 at the Moose Lodge in Wallaceburg. There will be plenty of fun activities at the castle including music, a Cinderella meet and greet, games, activities and photo booth. Kids are encouraged to wear their favourite character costume.
Readers are invited to submit their questions on travel close to home or far away to travel writer Bob Boughner at firstname.lastname@example.org.