Toonoonik Hotel: frozen up, shut down

Co-op hotel and dining room closed due to weather woes, 15 AWG guests re-routed



Iqaluit’s Toonoonik Hotel and restaurant closed its doors on Feb. 15, citing an expensive but preventable maintenance problem: frozen pipes.

When or if the popular breakfast spot will reopen is not known.

But demolishing the 20-year old building has not been ruled out, said Chris McCarville, media relations spokesperson for Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. in Winnipeg.

“The plumbers are in there now. We are getting estimates. No date has been set (to reopen),” she said.

About 24 employees, including cooks, servers and housekeepers, have been laid off until the beach-side facility’s fate is decided.

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Plumbing difficulties have plagued the building for years, McCarville said.

The building is owned by Pond Inlet’s Toonoonik Sahoonik Co-operative – one of two dozen co-operatives that are members of Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. The building, formerly known as the Bayshore Hotel, was renovated and reopened as the Toonoonik hotel in the early 1990s.

McCarville neither knew nor offered to find out if the frozen pipes resulted from a faulty boiler. When questioned about the overall maintenance at the salmon-pink hotel, McCarville had no answer.

Tentative plans for a new 75-room hotel and conference centre now are on hold.

The Toonoonik Hotel housed a craft store and truck rental business – goods and services that will not be available for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games.

McCarville said none of the cancellations were for Arctic Winter Games guests.

However, Tamara Macpherson, external relations manger for the games, checked her records and said 15 people who would have otherwise stayed at the Toonoonik hotel during the games have been referred to the city’s home-stay program.

People who frequented the Toonoonik restaurant, especially for breakfast, said they’ll miss their early morning meals. Other than the Snack, the Toonoonik was the only diner open at 6 a.m.

“If (the Toonoonik) reopens, I’ll be back. I went there for coffee, I liked their friendly staff,” said Raymond Vanstone, former Toonoonik patron.

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