Closed hotel reopens for World Challenge

Tina Comeau
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The Colony Inn Hotel has been transformed into Mariner House during the World Junior A Challenge. The hotel is being leased locally to increase room capacity. BELLE HATFIELD PHOTO

By Tina Comeau



A Yarmouth hotel that closed its doors nearly two years ago has been renamed and is being reopened, albeit only on a temporary basis, to help house two teams coming to Yarmouth for the World Junior A Challenge.

The Colony Harbour Inn, owned by Rodd Hotels and Resorts, has been renamed Mariner House and will house the visiting teams from the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

But it isn’t the owner of the hotel that is reopening the doors, rather the local world challenge organizing committee is leasing the property to help add to the room capacity needed in Yarmouth for this international sporting event. However Rodd Hotels and Resorts has given its blessing for the hotel to be used.

When Rodd closed the hotel in January 2011 – the property became a victim of Yarmouth not having regular ferry service – the company said it could be reopened on short notice to accommodate large-scale events happening in Yarmouth. And it was used to help increase room capacity for Nova Scotia Music Week and a couple of sporting tournaments.

But after the unoccupied hotel had experienced an undetected water leak in the summer of 2011 that resulted in a costly air-quality problem to fix, the company indicated that it wouldn’t be reopening the hotel for events.

However with an event such as the World Junior A Challenge, extra room capacity was needed. And so the local steering committee approached the hotel owner with a proposal.

“For whatever reason they decided they couldn’t (open it) so I made the offer to lease the property,” says Mitch Bonnar, chair of the hockey challenge. “Mr. (Mark) Rodd looked at it and looked at his commitment that he had made (two years ago). He wasn’t able to do it so this was the next best way to do it,” explains Bonnar. “I told him what I wanted to do and they very quickly came forward with an agreement and it was acceptable and away we went. He’s not making a lot of money on this and we aren’t either, but it does give us 60 extra rooms and we’re going to need them all.”

To open Mariner House, Bonnar says they had to have inspections of the property carried out, they had to clean the hotel and they had to make sure there were no water leaks.

“We basically had to go through every room,” he says. “They had moved some furniture up to the Grand Hotel so we had to put the rooms back together and move some stuff around.”

And although it isn’t Rodd that has reopened the property, Bonnar says it will operate almost exactly the way it did under Rodd’s control. He says to accomplish this they approached workers who had been laid off when the hotel closed.

 “I said you know your business . . . so rather than hire somebody that doesn’t know what’s going on why don’t you do it?  They jumped at the opportunity,” he says. “It gave them employment and they also wanted to help out.”

The other Rodd property in town, the Grand Hotel, is being converted into Canada House for the World Challenge, as this is where the Canada East and Canada West teams will stay. The USA and Russia teams are staying at the Comfort Inn and the Best Western Mermaid.

Yarmouth just recently hosted another large sporting event that also benefitted from the Colony Inn being leased for the world challenge. The Chicks with Sticks female hockey tournament attracted 22 teams, but also had to turn some away due to the unavailability of accommodations.  Since they were opening hotel rooms for the world challenge, Bonnar says they also opened up rooms for Chicks with Sticks.

“I did that for a couple of reasons. People need to realize we’re doing all of this for the community,” says Bonnar. “It’s a non-profit deal for sure and if we have to go through all this aggravation and pain of getting this hotel open again, let’s do it for the Chicks with Sticks too. I was told there were nine teams that couldn’t find a place to stay and couldn’t come. We reduced that by a fair number.”




Organizations: Rodd Hotels, Mariner House, Yarmouth hotel The Colony Harbour Inn Nova Scotia Music Week Grand Hotel Canada House for the World Challenge Comfort Inn Colony Inn

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Czech Republic, Switzerland Canada East Canada West USA Russia

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Recent comments

  • Stephen Charchuk
    November 05, 2012 - 16:57

    I bet a lot of money "changed" hands on this deal...... It may not be for profit, but someone sure made one.