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Update October 2017

The new lobby of the Champlain Waterfront Hotel in Orillia, Ontario currently under the auspices of Choice Hotels.
Lobby of the Champlain Waterfront Hotel. Image courtesy of
Choice Hotels
This update brings some exciting news!  The Champlain is reopening under Choice Hotels (Ascend Hotel Collection, Sunray Group), and bless them, they have kept the old name.

The Champlain Hotel is such an iconic building for Orillia, and for the waterfront area so to see a new concern coming in and running with Orillia's history still in the forefront is wonderful.

Well, I think so anyways. I think a lot of locals will welcome this new hotel. Downtown has a distinct lack of hotels, so seeing this restored and put to use is very exciting. There are so many waterfront events and festivals  in/at Couchiching Beach Park throughout the year that having a hotel in this location is really essential.

Locals who have seen this building standing along Front and Mississaga for many years have always referred to it as "the Champlain" and it doesn't seem to matter how many times someone tries to change the name, it's always going to be "the Champlain" to us (see below for historical owners).

So it's pretty exciting to see it re-christened it as "The Champlain Waterfront Hotel" ... how cool is that?

One of the bedrooms at the Champlain Waterfront Hotel with a king size bed and wall fireplace.
Room at the Champlain. Image courtesy of Choice Hotels.
While I haven't had a chance to visit it yet, I'm excited by what I've seen so far. Keeping the name as it always has been is a really positive start, and should endear a lot of Orillians to the new endeavour. As soon as I'm able to, I'll have a wander down and look around a little to confirm how great it looks.  I'm always glad to tell folks wanting to visit here what hotels are nearby, and whether they're worth staying at, but I don't usually do that without a first hand visit.

For me the old Champlain is close to my heart ... I can't give you a reason, other than I love that it has a history here, and that it's facade has remained nearly the same for so many years. It's clearly recognizable and new owners haven't "mucked up" it's heritage. I suppose that it's location is also one of the reasons I love it so much ... the waterfront and park have been the place I spent most of my time for the years I lived and worked downtown. The Champlain was always there, always the same ... something you could depend on.

Below (used with permission) is part of the news release on The Champlain Waterfront Hotel detailing the amenities (for the complete release, see my blog section).

Amenities include free WiFi, free daily newspaper, free parking and valet laundry service. Room features include flat-screen TVs, desks and ergonomic chairs, mini fridges, coffee machines, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards. King rooms feature a fireplace.
The property is conveniently located to many local attractions and points of interests including Casino Rama, the Leacock Museum, Georgian College, Orillia Opera House, OPP Museum and Hawk Ridge Golf & Country Club. The surrounding area offers a variety of recreational opportunities including marinas, golf courses, the Bass Lake Provincial Park, hiking and biking trails.
Reservations at The Champlain Waterfront Hotel can be made by calling 800.4CHOICE or by visiting
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Update: 2016  (see above for the most recent, and exciting update!)

It appears the Rodeway has disappeared and at the moment (at least when I went by in late September) there didn't appear to be any hotel concern occupying the old Champlain. I sure hope someone takes it on. It would be a shame to see this stay empty (or even worse, torn down).

Rodeway Inn - Hotel Champlain
2 Front Street, Orillia

Hotel Champlain, Quality Inn, downtown OrilliaThis is a familiar sight to most people who live in or visit Orillia; the long-standing Hotel Champlain, located just off the waterfront at the corner of Mississaga and Front Streets.

The original Champlain hotel got it's start back in May of 1932, and while the interior of this grand old hotel has undergone many upgrades and changes over the years, the face she presents to Orillia remains much the same - the Georgian style columns and porticos retain their old world elegance and the brick facade it's sturdy charm.

Some years ago (42 or 43 I think) I spent a weekend in this hotel. At that time, it was a little shabby - the rooms were small, and the one in which I was installed had a single bed of the old tubular iron variety - possibly c. 1910 or so. The attached bath was small but useable, though plumbing pipes were exposed and still of the old cast iron. This was not uncommon in old buildings. While the fittings and furniture were worn, the room was clean...and it's cost was $9 a night.

Today, a number of restorations and refurbishments later, the charming lobby is still charming and dressed in a style befitting an old matriarch. The floors above were reconfigured to create some slightly larger more modern rooms, and at the moment, she now known as the "Rodeway Inn Champlain", but I'm certain you'll find any long-time local will still call it "The Champlain" ... it will always be The Champlain to me, no matter what name is on the sign (and geeze, the new sign seriously doesn't go with the hotel).  The fact that you are but a few steps from the waterfront, the main street (next door to a larger grocery and a liquor store and the local Royal Canadian Legion doesn't hurt) and other local attractions should keep The Champlain filled to capacity on most weekends.

Parking is minimal for this hotel, however there is a large parking area in the plaza lot directly attached to the hotel's parking area. Being located within walking distance of most waterfront events (Canada Day Celebrations, Cottage and In-water Boat Show, Tribute Artist Weekends, Downtown Classic Car show, Scottish Festival and many other similar events) as well as numerous restaurants (one in the hotel, one across the street, and half a dozen or so a short walk up the main street) and the downtown shopping district make it easy for visitors to get around on foot, saving gas and enjoying the area up close, rather than from a car.

Although the hotel is not one of the most highly rated (three stars), it is quaint and clean (keep in mind that this one of Orillia's older buildings and has a historical ambiance), and is in a perfect location for visitors attending any events hosted in the downtown area - and, one of the local hotels that will take pets.

Orillia - Tux Waterfront Patio at the Hotel ChamplainThe old Tux Nightclub waterfront Patio - was once part of the offerings at the Hotel Champlain. The patio fronted on Mississaga Street, across from the liquor store and the Zoo Bar & Grill, and it's portion looked out onto the waterfront. At the time this was taken, the building's side panel was painted with a tropical sunset and a large bottle of Smirnoff vodka. Now ... well, now the marvelous painting is long gone and the patio bar, a memory (although there has been talk of a revival so ... we shall see)