Pine Vista began as Hamilton Cottages in 1945 when Walter Hamilton, a carpenter and his wife Alma, a teacher, decided to supplement their income by building rental cottages. Over the next five years, four cottages were built around their home on the shores of Gilchrist Bay on Stoney Lake. They included Pinerest, Hilltop, Lakeview and Holiday Ranch. Guests at that time consisted of drive in American fishermen who stayed for one or two weeks to enjoy the lake and fish the bountiful waters for Pickerel, Bass, Muskie & Panfish.
In 1968 their son Vernon and his new wife Bonnie purchased these four cottages from his retiring parents and shortly after named it Pine Vista Resort.
It was basically a small, seasonal fishing camp managed by Bonnie with Vernon doing the maintenance during spare time from his real estate career. Due to high U.S. unemployment during the 1970's the resort began attracting families from the Toronto area, many of whom didn't fish. By the mid 1980's they had purchased the adjoining White Oaks (now The Homestead) and Hideaway as well built Algoma and Upper Stoney, giving a total of eight housekeeping cottages. At this time they felt there was a demand for more upscale housekeeping accommodation with many recreation facilities. A place that would be enjoyed by families and couples, as well as those fishermen who wanted some additional comforts.
With this in mind a 10 year plan was drawn up. Stage one, was to renovate and modernize the existing eight cottages. Then in 1987 The Pines and Beachview buildings were built. They were considered luxury accommodation in those days with their whirlpool baths and fireplaces and would play an important role in building the couples and family markets. At about the same time Pine Vista's very successful children's recreation program began. Believing that children basically decide the family vacation, they endeavored to make their time at Pine Vista something very special. This was rewarded with a very high repeat family business in the Summer which continues to this day.
In 1989 the Treetops building was added. These four new deluxe units with interiors similar to the Pines and Beachview brought the resort to 18 accommodations. Pine Vista ran with those for nine years continuing to make yearly improvements to the accommodations and grounds. The very popular heated pool and outdoor hot tub were added in 1992. By this time the resort with its new fully winterized accommodations had expanded to a nine month season from April - December.
In 1998 the office/gift shop was completely gutted and converted into Lower Stoney, a beautiful wheelchair accessible deluxe two bedroom. With this a new three year project in the form of a 7000 sq.ft. Welcome Centre was initiated. The building included an office/gift shop, games room, indoor hot tub/showers and laundry/housekeeping facilities on the main floor which were all completed in the first year. In 1999 the top floor was finished with three 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom Superior Suites. Named the Kawarthas, they featured air conditioning, dishwashers and a 2nd television making them the most luxurious accommodations on the property. A meeting/social room was also added and the resort began to attract small groups. The year 2000 saw the completion of the Welcome Center project with a beautiful games room, exercise and massage room on the lower floor. These indoor facilities added to guests enjoyment and helped build a winter business. The resort would now become a year round operation.
In 2002 the original White Oaks cottage was re-located and two new three bedroom, two bathroom Superior Cottages were built on that site. Named the Maples and White Oaks these two are now the largest and most luxurious accommodations on the property. The original White Oaks (now the Homestead) cottage which had much history on the property was placed on a new foundation and completely renovated and updated in late 2002. It still features the original floor and ceiling boards and has lots of space and character. After being rented long term for the first year it became available for daily and weekly rentals starting in February of 2004.
Pine Vista Resort is now renting Heritage Manor as of 2008 for a total of 25 accommodations. We continue to do yearly renovations and upgrades on the accommodations to ensure they meet or exceed our four star grading and more importantly our guest expectations.
The resort also consists of 25 seasonal campsites. Started back in the 1970's it too has transformed, now with modern, fully equipped trailers and landscaped lots. Many of these campers were originally guests and consist of Semi-retired or young retirees.
This is an overview of the evolution of Pine Vista Resort from 1945 to the present time. It is currently run by General Manager, Kevin Drain and a small carefully chosen staff.