Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Minaki Lodge has a checkered past

Luxury lodge's replacement value estimated to be $50 million

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The history of Minaki Lodge:

1914 -- Grand Trunk Pacific Railway builds a modest hotel where Minaki Lodge now stands.

1919 -- CN Rail purchases the hotel and property with plans to make it a first-class wilderness resort.

1925 -- Fire destroys much of the lodge as the CN Rail is preparing to reopen it as a luxury resort.

1927-- The lodge is rebuilt in 18 months, and opened in June.

1955 -- CN Rail sells the lodge to a Winnipeg real estate firm, Aronovitch & Leipsic.

1966 -- Minneapolis businessman Frank W. Griswold purchases the lodge.

1971 -- Winnipeg businessman H. Rod Carey purchases the lodge.

1974 -- The Ontario government takes over but keeps the hotel closed for eight years for renovations.

1983 -- The Ontario government persuades the Radisson hotel chain to operate the lodge.

1986 -- Ontario sells Minaki for $4 million to the Four Seasons chain.

1994 -- White Dog First Nation purchases the lodge for an estimated $3.5 million, using compensation dollars for mercury contamination by a mill on the English River.

1998 -- After losing a reported $6 million, White Dog sells the lodge to Texas businessman Sadrudin Kassam for $1.5 million, according to the Globe and Mail. He opens the lodge for three weeks before closing it again.

2000 -- Kassam puts a $1.5-million US cash-only price tag on it. There are no takers.

2002 -- Land Development Company of Calgary, headed by Phil Archer, purchases the lodge for $2.2 million, and starts running ads offering condos on the property. The company also invests about $5 million in renovations.

May, 2003 -- Minaki Lodge reopens.

Sept. 1, 2003 -- The lodge is abruptly closed, and Archer lists it for sale for $7.4 million US. He also offers it for sale in Forbes magazine for $7.5 million US.

Oct. 12, 2003 -- Fire razes Minaki Lodge.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 14, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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