The Calgary based real-estate developer who owns Minaki Lodge says he doesn't have insurance for any of the historic buildings that were burnt down in a weekend blaze.
Phil Archer, who bought the northwestern Ontario retreat in the spring of 2002, said he didn't have any insurance for any of the buildings because he didn't believe he needed it.
The 89-year-old resort burned to the ground Sunday. The Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Fire Marshal are searching for clues as to what set the $40 million property ablaze.
"It's like a death in my family today. I haven't made plans for tomorrow," Archer said.
Archer said he had recently changed his mind about insurance coverage when he discovered it was a condition for condominiums and time share vacations at the resort.
"We we working on this with a local insurer and I just talked to him on Friday and he told me we were about a week away from having coverage for the buildings," he said.
Archer estimated his losses to be close to $8 million. He owes another $1.8 million to trades people in Manitoba and Ontario for renovations that were completed but not paid for.
Former general manager Herb Le Grange says the lodge was struggling financially all summer and finally shut down suddenly amidst controversy in September.
He says the SARS scare in Toronto turned off the U.S. tourists needed to keep the lodge going. "This was a bad season to open because of the SARS scare. The American tourists didn't come," said Le Grange.
More than 40 employees lost their jobs.
Minaki lodge was first built as a rustic hotel by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and had undergone lavish renovations. It was famous for its intricate stone work and cathedral ceilings.
Over the years various governments have sunk about $50 million into the lodge, saving it from bankruptcy.