Management with Kenora’s premier waterfront hotel – the Clarion Lakeside Inn – says construction is still on schedule as they hope to reopen the building this summer.

The Clarion’s been closed for three years now after a major fire in January, 2020 which filled Kenora’s downtown core with a blanket of thick, dark smoke.

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It took six fire trucks, an aerial truck, a rescue truck and close to 30 firefighters with Kenora’s Fire and Emergency Services to contain the blaze. The official cause of the fire has never been released, but it’s believed that it began underneath the building before engulfing a vehicle in the parking lot.

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Between 20 and 30 guests were staying at the hotel that day – including the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Grey Cup – but thankfully, no injuries were reported. Bomber Fullback John Rush saved the day by grabbing the trophy on his way out, and all guests were later brought to the Travelodge.

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Now, just a couple of weeks shy of the three-year anniversary of the January 17 2020 fire, Clarion Manager Jimmy Koo says everything is still on schedule for the hotel to reopen in 2023.

Originally, the building was only supposed to be closed for a couple of months, but in 2022, Director Gary Lei explained that due to fire, smoke and water damage within – the building is undergoing a complete interior overhaul.

Lei added that crews are aiming to wrap up construction work for the summer, potentially by May.