Watch out for the rebirth of the Moyie Pub next year
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
Santa Claus may have a special treat in his bag this year for all those – and there are many – who have enjoyed a cold glass of suds and a plate of steaming fish and chips in the Moyie Pub over the years.
The “gift” won’t actually arrive until around May of 2017 when the new owner of the historic 1926 watering hole hopes to throw open the doors on a refurbished, family-friendly building that will appeal to everyone that enjoys a cold beer on a hot day and something to eat to go with it.
“It will still be a public house,” says Rob Chauncey, a former Pitt River businessman now living in the old hotel with his wife and young daughter. “But it will be more family orientated and we want to take greater advantage of being right on the lake.”
The now shuttered pub was in the news recently when an old and somewhat mysterious train bell was returned to the small lakeside village after being sold to a Cranbrook antique dealer. After hearing about the bell’s sale, Moyie residents rallied and raised $2,700 in less than 24 hours to buy it back and donate it to the Moyie Museum.
“It should be in the bar or the museum. It wasn’t theirs to sell,” says Amie Lubbers, an advertising consultant with Koocanusa Publications in Cranbrook and a Moyie resident. Repatriation of the brass bell rumored to have been on a steam train that plunged into the lake near Moyie in November 1925 was fine with him, says Chauncey, who contributed $500 to the purchase himself.
Sale of the bell was a move that went “sideways” on the new owners, says Chauncey, who has a silent partner in the venture. “I had no idea what the bell actually meant to the people of Moyie. If I’d known, I would have donated it myself.”
Now that the bell issue has been resolved, Chauncey says he just wants to get on with completing refurbishment of the hotel which has slowed down in recent months because of some financial setbacks the new owners have experienced. But this is “normal” in a project of this nature and when you’re dealing with the expenses of trying to bring an almost century old wooden building back to life, he says.
“When we got into the building, we realized it needed a lot of work. But when you really get into the building you get a sense of what the building could be,” he says. The partners originally hoped to reopen the pub last May, but when they realized the amount of upgrading they faced, starting with the plumbing and bathrooms they decided to put the opening off until May of 2017.
“We had to make the building safe electrically and structurally so most of our budget went into restructuring things rather than just upgrading which took us to the off-season and we figured why rush it then when we could do things properly.”
When the pub re-opens, it will have more of a sports bar atmosphere and a family atmosphere as well, Chauncey says. “It will have a new layout and be more open. There will be a water feature at the bar and a games room and there will be a new floor.” But the popular outdoor patio will remain and some apartments may be added on the top floor, he says.
And contrary to rumors, the partners have enough money to finish the project, he says. “There have been some hiccups along the way and I’m not going to say money has never been an issue. Money is always an issue. But we’re not even close to giving up on the place. We’re moving along. It’s not like things aren’t getting done.”
Chauncey says people who’ve have had a peek at the renovations inside have been impressed. “They were wowed. We’re bringing it up a notch.”
Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who has hoisted a few in the Moyie pub himself.