Greenwood’s Windsor Hotel is coming back, thanks to Boundary ranchers and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s (RDKB’s) Food Hub initiative.
Speaking to The Times Friday, Aug. 27, Kendall Ballantine said she and her husband bought the Windsor through a foreclosure sale this summer. The enterprising couple was drawn to the hotel, left vacant at 309 South Copper Rd since 2017, while establishing their ranch in Rock Creek.
“It’s one of those buildings that stops everybody in their tracks. It stopped me in my tracks for years,” she said.
The hotel’s original façade, very much in keeping with Greenwood’s historic charm, stands in sharp contrast to the orange and green shag carpeting and daisy wallpaper wrought by a 1970s renovation to some of the upstairs hotel rooms. It now falls to the wife and husband duo to undo these and other, perhaps less “unfortunate,” interior renovations before the hotel tentatively reopens next June.
Fortunately, not all of its legacy is lost — far from it.
“Even in the spaces that have been renovated, where there has been some of that original history taken out, they still have the original hardwood floors and the woodwork and the millwork around the casings that we’ll be able to salvage,” Ballantine stressed.
Meanwhile, the long-disused hotel rooms are in bad need of structural repairs, particularly those under the building’s dilapidated roof.
“We need to get things back to the point where everything is safe and nothing’s getting worse. Then, we can start re-building,” Ballantine explained. The ground-level restaurant will be restored to the hotel’s lobby; the pub to a cocktail lounge setting where patrons can enjoy light meals. Next, she and her husband hope to eventually market their high-end meat products out of the building’s store.
“I was really excited to hear about the food hub,” she said, adding that she was inspired by the RDKB’s February announcement that the regional district and the province were heavily investing in local food processing facilities.
“To be honest, that was part of the reason we started looking for commercial space in the Boundary. We started thinking, ‘Maybe this will give us an opportunity to do some of our butchery locally, instead of taking it to the coast like we have to do now.’”
Ballantine and her husband are looking forward to spending most of their time between The Windsor in Greenwood and their ranch in Rock Creek after selling their farm in Langley.
The Windsor Hotel was opened at its current location in 1896. The building was rebuilt in 1900, following a fire at the neighbouring Pacific Hotel the previous year, according to contemporary editions of the Boundary Creek Times.
— With files from Christopher Stevenson