‘RL’ owner invites investor!

The Rainy Lake Hotel, for 75 years the undisputed queen of Scott Street, has its present owner, youthful Larry Syrovy, thinking of taking on partners in the belief that shared ownership could benefit both the business and all-around appearances.
Larry does not expect any outright sales, but he has been engaged in conversations with both local people and outsiders expressing interest. He concedes his hotel could be improved more than he has been able to manage since arriving here more than a decade ago from Czechoslovakia.
In fact, it’s 13 years since he last saw his old home and relatives, and Larry implies it’s time for a break. If there were other investors in the hotel, he might feel free to relax occasionally while others used their talents on what Fort Frances always has regarded as a major attraction.
The Rainy Lake Hotel is the best survivor of the old local hotel trade and a time when there were five other hotels on the downtown scene, all seemingly busy.
There were the Emperor near the bridge, the Fort Frances by the banks, the Irwin by the papermill (and formerly named Monarch when it was moved here over the lake ice from old Mine Centre), the Prince Albert on Church Street, as well as the White Pine Inn east of the downtown (and the only other one still operating today).
The Rainy Lake had a series of owners before Larry came along. For most of its years, it was allied to the Kenricia hotel in Kenora and operated by the Gray family.
Then Walmsley came in from Manitoba, who eventually sold to the Domanski family—a father and two sons well-known here who had been connected with Canada Packers through an earlier stay, then in a Lakehead hotel.
Enter Larry from Europe, a likeable, quiet fellow who now is beginning to realize the enormity of his challenge! Unwilling to entertain an outright sale, he gave permission to discuss his ideas of a partnership.
Meanwhile, he plans to continue operating and advises that, while he enjoys our fine old hotel, it does require improvements and Larry hopes someone else can pitch in with him!
Perfectly centred for downtown celebrations, the “R.L.” for years offered holiday speakers an overhanging balcony above the sidewalk and microphones for their messages, as well as three floors for lounging and visiting plus the biggest dining rooms around.
There also was the popular basement ballroom, where dances and bands came together regularly.
Larry said this week he could enjoy someone redecorating the downstairs. His ballroom became a well-known area for private parties and dancing through past years.
Everything considered, Larry admits it’s all too much for him alone to look after for whatever comes along!
Maybe its best attraction is all the time it traditionally has served the community for so many purposes. But Larry believes its best years may still lie ahead
• • •
Murray Donnelly’s passing last weekend came as a shocker for me and others of our generation because there went one of the best-liked people around. Murray followed his mother, Agnes, into provincial property registrations. After succeeding her in the Church Street office building by the library, he moved in the same capacity to Thunder Bay.
His Second World War experience was with the RCAF air crews as a navigator. The younger of two brothers, including Melvin, a Canadian Army captain.
Murray was raised in a Church Street apartment where I knew and liked both for their sociable ways and ready smiles whenever we met.
• • •
For Susan Allison, whom I never meet anywhere lately: Thanks very much for that enjoyable birthday gift!
• • •
Henry and Thea Kaemingh of Devlin are back from visiting their daughter’s growing family at Brantford, Ont. for the past three months. Besides six previous children, she recently bore twins—a boy and girl.
• • •
Orval Eyolfson found gas prices jumping around at Toronto where his lawyer son, Brian, is training for another marathon at Ottawa on May 28. Last we heard, Brian had completed a marathon in Iceland, with Orval attending.
On weekends, the Toronto gas pumps are charging 94.5 cents a litre—well up from the regular 79.2 cents!
• • •
Someone mentioned there is a Wayne Gretzky Drive in Brantford, Ont., and this is a good idea for commemorating a famous hometown name. The closest we have come to that is in names of some schools, such as Alexander MacKenzie and J.W. Walker for instance.
Something around here should carry the name of J.A. Mathieu, who donated big cheques regularly.
• • •
Someone asked last week how long ago my mother was knocked down by a car and died in hospital almost immediately. This is so long ago now I could not remember the date right away, but it was Dec. 17, 1964.
My father, the well-known Tony Vandetti, carried on without her for only six years. Loneliness undoubtedly helped carry him away because they had been very close together in every way.
• • •
Much of my parents’ pleasure was found outdoors, either in their gardens, swimming, and berry picking, and our two years at Mine Centre were frequently recalled.
My dad worked for an older chum who operated the Paccito gold mine three miles west of our one-room log cabin.
Now I’ve been told by Ken Munn that the old buildings at that mine are still standing. This is at Vermilion Lake, where Ken keeps a cabin. I’ll have to get up there to look around again.
• • •
While a space ship is still needed, it seems more and more that Mars will someday be settled by humans because investigations have indicated no other known planet could be habitable.
• • •
With gasoline going up rapidly these days, however, don’t expect it will do for regular space flights! Right now, to turn the key and just go around the block probably takes $5—and rising as we discuss it!
But with the sun shining rather steadily again, I’m thinking about moving my old truck around again anyway!
• • •
Another thought on TV: Why not throw it away instead of trying to enjoy it despite all those commercials! Why not do something useful like we did before TV!
Just think how much more could be accomplished!

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