Talisman Resort Redevelopment Details Announced

Text & photos by Nelson Phillips.

Southern Ontario’s Beaver Valley houses a pristine stretch of protected marshland, a bustling whitetail deer population, the meandering Beaver River, and an old relic: a derelict mountain resort formerly known as Talisman.

 

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Photo by Nelson Phillips.

From the 1960s into the 2000s, the resort was a classic example of small-time Ontario ski royalty, and its bankruptcy in 2009 was both sad and unnerving for the ski community. (Talisman owed the municipality over $2 million in back-taxes and additional millions to creditors.) But there’s hope: a financial defibrillator has recently zapped some life into the 200-acre property. A Toronto development group has purchased the resort and plans to revamp the aging facility into a conference centre and spa. The resort once boasted 100 hotel rooms, a jumpin’ après watering-hole, and a tubing park – as well as one of the best jib parks in Ontario.

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Developer Brian Ellis says it’s unlikely the ski lifts will ever run again, and calls them “financially unviable. But we will be using the hills for nature walks, trails and other activities that are enhanced by the natural beauty of the Valley. The hotel will see restaurant renovation, the pool area completely redone, and a new outside dining area for the warmer months of the year.”

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Photo by Nelson Phillips.

Ellis says the overall look and feel of Talisman will remain the same, but through extensive renovations to both exterior and interior spaces. The spa, which will inhabit the old day lodge, will compete with nearby Blue Mountain facilities, and there are reported talks of a potential agreement with neighbouring Beaver Valley Resort to shuttle visitors over for a spot of skiing/boarding.

“We have had some initial meetings with the Beaver Valley Club,” says Ellis. “We are working on a program that benefits both sides and will allow our clients to ski next door at the Club.”

Talisman will also get a new name, which hasn’t been announced yet.

Photo by Nelson Phillips.
Photo by Nelson Phillips.

Back in the mid-90s, Talisman introduced me to snowboarding, and it was one of the first resorts in Ontario to allow shredders on its slopes. (They let me in with a plastic Canadian Tire board and Sorels.) When you’re driving by, be sure to give it the proverbial downward nod of respect. There’s snowboard history on those hills.

The developers are aiming to re-launch the resort on Canada Day 2015.

Comments

10 thoughts on “Talisman Resort Redevelopment Details Announced

  1. Congratulations on the redevelopment of the Talisman Resort in Kimberly. Decor Design is an established interior design and decor business in Owen Sound. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss design possibilities in the areas of window coverings, bedding etc for the resort. Could you please let me know who I should contact so I can introduce myself.

    Regards,
    Cindy McMullin
    Decor Design

  2. Hi, I skied and worked at Talisman in the 70’s for about three/four years as a waitress and then dining room hostess. I lived in Kimberly and my son was born there. Many good memories, sad to see it in the shape it is in now. Hope it finds its rebirth and becomes some, if not all, of its glory back. Good Luck….

  3. This is wonderful news. Owned property on Lake Eugenia for 56 years and was so disappointed when this resort closed. This will definately add to the enjoyment of living in this area.

  4. I help manage a local restaurant in the area and was wondering if your have any tables and chairs that you might be interested in selling so we can give our little place an update!

    Looking forward to your upcoming revival….good luck!

  5. Very moving pictures Jason, well documented. Many memories. What is Talisman being turned into and what are the deadlines if any? I noted something about walking paths etc., no more skiing I guess? It closed in 2009, why. It always seemed a going concern and the last owner, the names escapes me, was a determined and good business man from what I can remember. There was good management and a wonderful German Chef, ahhh those were the days.

  6. This is where I learned to ski. I lived in Owen Sound as a little kid and it was closer to drive to then Blue Mountain for my parents. I have great family memories of Talisman.

  7. I wish for a successful rebranding too. The use of a Sioux word “chapa” for “beaver”, as suggested in the renaming of Talisman, may please the Sioux Nation but risks snubbing local native heritage: Ojibwa, Huron, Mohawk, Chippewa, Iroquois. I’d suggest consulting First Nations before going with Bighorn Golf or Sitting Bull Spa.

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