Dunlop Lake Lodge has a long history on Dunlop Lake, just fifteen minutes north of the City of Elliot Lake, Ontario. First built in 1919 on an island in Dunlop Lake, the lodge operated until 1981 when a new lodge was built on the lakefront of the mainland. The lodge's over one-hundred-year history has made it a well-known landmark to everyone who lives in and visits the area.
The lodge sits on a hill overlooking picturesque Dunlop Lake. I had the opportunity to speak with Tricia MacDonald, the current owner of the Dunlop Lake Lodge who gave me a quick tour and tell me about the business. The lodge operates year-round, serving the summer and winter market as well as the shoulder seasons. "With the northern loop snowmobile and ATV trail right at the top of our driveway, we’re a popular stop along the route, for both lodging and for hearty meals," said Tricia.
The lodge sits on twelve acres, spread out along the shore of the lake. The main lodge has eleven rooms, along with two cabin rentals, and several trailer properties that are rented. They also have seasonal pull-in/out sites rented during the summer months. Large event spaces are also available which are a premium in the area. "We’ve become the go-to place for weddings and other special celebrations," says Tricia. "We’re very accommodating and flexible, where we can shut down one section of the lodge for a private event and still have other areas open to the public."
The dining room at Dunlop Lake Lodge is open to the public. It’s open seven days per week, year-round. "Our breakfasts are mainly for our guests, but lunch and dinner service are welcome to the public," said Tricia. The menu is short, but changes frequently with specials, along with the prix fixe menu with items that can be ordered any time of year.
"Our fish and chips are very popular, as well as our Dunlop Burger which is made from 100% beef, with no fillers," she says. "Our Heartly Lodge Classics are a big hit with roasts and turkey on special holidays. The desserts, soups, sauces, salads and some dressings are made in-house from scratch." The restaurant is proud to serve Grand North Bison, local pickerel fished from Lake Huron, local maple syrup and honey, as well as beer from Manitoulin Brewing and Stack Brewing beers from Sudbury. "Massey Wholesalers is our primary source for our menu items," she notes. "We prefer to deal with a locally owned distributor we can count on. We are always on the lookout to source more locally sourced food/drink products and producers are welcome to contact me."
Along with the dining room, the lodge does take-out orders and will deliver. Advance notice is required for those. "We have local and area bands come in and entertain our guests, as well, the Open Mic night on Thursday nights has become very popular."
Along with twenty staff at the lodge, Tricia is looking forward to a busy season and a successful year. "We’re looking forward to seeing many familiar faces and new ones as the year progresses."
"Our Expect to Feel at Home tagline came from our guests. When we took over the lodge, we decided to change it from the previous one to better suit the feeling our customers have about the lodge. They kept telling us that when they stay at Dunlop Lake Lodge, they feel right at home, so the new tagline was born and it fits!" shared Tricia.
The warm welcome I got from not only Tricia, but her staff, along with their over one-hundred-year history serving the Elliot Lake area, demonstrates how much they value their customers.