Summer Vibe on the RideauPublished on August 4, 2015

  • The Opinicon

  • The Opinicon

  • Scott Perry and Sam Jaspers-Fayer (seated at drums) perform

  • The Opinicon Dining Room

  • The Opinicon 

An iconic resort on the Rideau Lakes has been brought back to life after closing in 2012. Fiona McKean and Tobias Lütke have restored The Opinicon to bring a lively vibe to Chaffey's Locks at the Rideau Canal. The 16-acre property offers a hotel, restaurant, store and lodging facilities with family fun a focal theme.

A visit this past August long weekend found a craft fair on the grounds and music on the porch with guests wandering between the restaurant, ice-cream parlor and general store churning a feeling of an old fashioned summer day.

The Opinicon has a history of a grand presence on the Rideau at Chaffey's Locks. The property was the Chaffey family home in the 1800's and then started as a resort in 1921. The most recent owners, Karen Cross and Cindy Simpson closed the doors in 2012.

Fiona McKean, who's husband Tobias Lütke is the Ottawa based commerce company Shopify founder and CEO, had ties to the area with cottage property nearby and treasured memories of time spent at the Opinicon. Fiona wanted to preserve the spot that held cherished summer memories for her and bring them back to the community. It's a work in progress but the sentiments are being established and Fiona says "When we roll into the driveway and see happy families with big ice-cream cones we think, this is why we did this."  The young mother acknowledges that the revamp has been a lot of work with lots more to go but feels a gush of pride on a summer weekend connecting with people who have Opinicon stories of their own tell. 

Our visit consisted of checking out the craft show and enjoying lunch in the bright, revamped dining room. The craft fair had historically been on the grounds during the August civic holiday weekend so bringing it back was a ‘no brainer,' Fiona said.

The dining room showed off freshly painted moss green walls with tables dressed in crisp white linens complimented with simple floral arrangements. The overall feel was vintage-style with some modern touches. We started our meal with a charcuterie board, then moved onto meal sized salads and the best French fries on the Rideau, according to some youthful experts we had on hand! Chef Angela Baldwin is a local with a good sense of the community and life on the lake and a welcome addition to the Opinicon team.

With plenty of time to celebrate all things summer, check out this grand Rideau Lakes resort to catch that summertime feeling in a place that cherishes the classic tastes of summer living. 

Sign up for our Newsletter
Subscribe to theMagazine

Subscribe to Ottawa at Home for only $25.00 + hst per year. Click to Subscribe.