Picton’s historic ‘The Royal Hotel’ reopens after nine years of restoration

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Picton has reclaimed a centerpiece of its historic 19th century downtown thanks to a nine-year rescue mission of love and hope by Toronto’s Sorbara family to save cityscape landmark The Royal Hotel from destruction. be forever lost in history.

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After millions of dollars and years of work to resurrect and once again create a destination center on Picton’s main street, the hard work paid off on Monday with the grand reopening of the 142-year-old landmark downtown now known as “The Royal.”

Former Ontario Liberal Finance Minister Gregory Sorbara beamed as he officially announced the Royal’s return to prominence as it was after it was built in 1879 in Prince Edward County at the time that coincided with the arrival of the railway in “the county”.

And, as before, the Royal’s space will once again offer dining and entertainment to guests in a 28-room interior underpinned by a farm-to-table mantra of sourcing locally grown food and wine from the farming community. County.

The reopening of the first boutique hotel has also created 70 on-site jobs and a new payroll to further boost the economic fortunes of town and country.

While the exterior envelope of the hotel was restored brick by brick to preserve the facade and the heritage of the structure, the interior was completely redesigned to replace the crumbling amenities that were beyond restoration.

Sorbara told The Intelligencer during an interview at Monday’s reopening ceremony that the attempt to save the hotel was a marathon effort to see the project through difficult adversity.

Just a few years after buying what some in town believed to be a money pit in 2013, Sorbara believed he could reopen the Hotel Royal in time for Canada Day in 2017.

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And then reality gripped the amount of work that was left to do and he realized the full extent of what a great project would require.

Sorbara well recalled, “my naive belief in early 2016 that I wanted to open on Canada Day 2017, the country’s 150th anniversary, a historic day, ‘let’s open this hotel by then.’ You know, within a year, I knew that was totally unrealistic.

“And then we had the collapse of the east wall [of the hotel’s exterior] and it took 15 months to manage and then we had the pandemic but you know what? I always thought: the place existed for 140 years before we started. If we can open it, it will last another 140 years,” Sorbara said.

“Doing so was my inspiration, the fact that the market was strong allowed us to persevere,” Sorbara said at Monday’s official event after a soft opening of the hotel on Jan. 6.

On the sidelines of the reopening, Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson told The Intelligencer “it’s absolutely amazing the work being done there, the attention to detail. God bless the Sorbaras for understanding and realized the commitment that had to be made to preserve this property.

“And it’s not about the real estate, it’s not about the particular building, but it also demonstrates an investment in the community, a significant investment in the community and that’s so important because it’s going to attract people who are going to check out Le Royal, they’ll check out other parts of Prince Edward County, we really appreciate that.”

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An emotional Sol Korngold, project manager and chief executive of the Royal, told a packed main hall that after a very long journey it was hard to believe the day had finally arrived to welcome locals and visitors to the county .

Executive Chef Albert Ponzo was also on hand for the grand opening and will offer guests a full menu of Italian and French dishes infused with fresh ingredients sourced from Edwin County Farms, the Sorbara family’s organic vegetable farm, as well as the many growers county premises. .

Designed by architects Giannone Petricone Associates, The Royal includes “five guest suites in the auxiliary space of the Royal Annex, restaurants for over 200 people, an on-site bakery, a hotel bar, conference and meeting facilities, a spa and sauna, and finally, a spectacular outdoor venue that includes a custom-tiled pool and bar.”

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