THUNDER BAY – With an unimpeded view of the Sleeping Giant from most of its 41 rooms and a 90-year history serving justice to the city, the soon-to-open Thunder Bay Courthouse Hotel should draw plenty of interest from travellers and tourists alike.
Set to open on May 2, the refurbished courthouse features modern rooms with every imaginable amenity, but still maintains plenty of ties to its legal past, from the courthouse schedule still posted inside the main lobby to the juror and judges’ box left intact in the hotel ballroom.
General manager Chris Kowbuz said there’s already a buzz about the new facility, which opened as a courtroom in 1924.
“I think we’ve got a great product here. It’s a boutique hotel and I think it’s something that’s pretty unique to Thunder Bay,” Kowbuz said. “We’re really excited.”
Operating under the Ascend brand, the Courthouse hotel joins a collection of worldwide, one-of-a-kind upscale properties from New Orleans to Paris and Stockholm to Sydney.
“It’s not something we’ve typically seen (here), Kowbuz said. “We were able to keep a lot of original features to the courthouse, for instance, the banisters. And in the ballroom we have the jury booths and the judge’s table.
“We kept a lot of the original wood throughout the property, so the hardwood doors were kept.”
The rooms are mostly located on the second and third floor, each designed to fit the space. In other words, there’s nothing cookie-cutter about them.
Ownership was limited in the scope of the refurbishments they could make. The building, located on Camelot Street, is protected under the Ontario Heritage Trust, which required the integrity and character of the building to be protected.
Kowbuz said they’ve already been taking reservations, and even held a retirement party for someone in the legal profession earlier this week, despite not officially opening the hotel until next Thursday.