Published on November 16th, 2014 | by the Flesherton1
By Rosanne Caruso
Since the sale of the former Talisman Mountain Resort last May, the renovation and restoration has begun to transform the derelict site into a multi-use facility.
According to Brian Ellis, the developer who heads the new ownership group, the facility will have four basic components – hotel, conference centre, golf course and spa. Opening is planned for spring, 2015 but realistically may be as late as July 2015, with the spa opening in the fall of that year.
The facility will be adult-oriented with a serene, retreat-like ambience. Ellis is working with award-winning architect, Peter Ferguson, who lives in Kimberley, and a team of interior designers who, he says, have provided inspiring vision.
Ellis notes that “the structure has good bones” and that although they are keeping the footprint, the buildings are getting far more than a facelift. The 90 hotel rooms are being completely gutted and restored with a “spa feel” including plans for new enlarged and feature-filled ensuite bathrooms.
The grand ballroom will retain its size but has a new design and there will be three conference rooms for corporate and private functions. A charitable event has already been scheduled for September 2015. Ellis says events have put Blue Mountain on the map and they now draw in thousands to the Collingwood area each year.
Reviving the ski hill at Talisman is no longer a consideration. There had been some talk about having things restored to operable and having it run by a 3rd party. That was determined to be cost prohibitive and did not make good business sense.
However, Ellis says he has talked with nearby private club, Beaver Valley Ski Club, and there are plans for a possible exchange of services between the two, with Talisman guests skiing at Beaver and club members accessing the spa.
A local workforce was hired for the cleanup and in November there have been approximately 30 people working onsite. The mould abatement work on the main building has been completed. The old swimming pool was completely removed and the work crew continue to work at resolving a long-standing drainage issue. The stucco exterior is about to be applied and new doors and windows will go in next month.
Once completed, Ellis expects the facility will employ about 100 full- and part-time staff throughout the year. The spa alone will have 50 full- and part-time staff and Ellis says it will be several times larger than its nearest competition, featuring pools, waterfalls and a range of spa treatment services. A hospitality management team will be hired for the day-to-day running of the complete facility.
This is a revised version of a story that originally appeared in the Stay in Grey November newsletter