Built in 1884, the Rossport Inn was originally constructed to accommodate CPR bigwigs for inspections as the railroad was stretching its tendrils west across the country. Professional chefs, roaring fireplaces, and thick Hudson’s Bay blankets created a small sliver of opulence in the otherwise rugged and wild 19th century northwestern Ontario.
Later it was sold to the Seppala family who both operated the inn and began construction of the cabins from the early to mid 1900s. Then, in the 1970s it was sold to a group of 13 business men from Thunder Bay, my father would later refer to them as ‘The 13 Thieves.’ They quickly turned the Inn into a bar, strip club, and I dare imagine what else. Occasionally we will still have a wayward traveler inquire “if the strippers are still around?”
The Thieves quickly grew tired of their own personal Sodom & Gomorrah. They gave up the business, stripping it of priceless antiques that had been there for nearly a century. The Rossport Inn remained like this for about a decade, forgotten and in disrepair. Enter my father, Ned Basher.
By his late 30s my dad had been both a retired USAF jet pilot and hotelier. Between jobs and wives he purchased the Rossport Inn in 1982 after being enchanted with the area during previous sailing trips. It took him two full years of renovations, living in Cabin 12, to bring the Rossport Inn back to life and he reopened the business on its centennial. From the first day, business was booming.
Over time the Rossport Inn evolved. Ned met Shelagh, my mum, a retired photographer and model freshly returned to Canada after a decade in England. After a chance meeting in the Caribbean, My dad sent her a one-way train ticket to Rossport from Winnipeg, she accepted and they were married not long after. Together, the Rossport Inn, cabins, and the restaurant became well known across Canada and was listed in every travel guide worth its salt.
As my parents grew older and the pandemic hit in 2020 we all decided it was time for a change. My partner Irina and I had tried careers in hospitality, social work, tech and even basketball but we both found ourselves grinding against the rigidness of an authoritative corporate structure. So in 2021, under the sage tutelage of my parents, Irina and I relaunched the business.
Dad still looks after the grounds and enjoys his gardening while mum helps out with housekeeping and teaches us the finer points of corporate finance. They are very much enjoying their long deserved retirement.
This summer will be our 40th year with the Rossport Inn in the family and we are proud to share it with all of you!
The Business Family
Mum Showing that Rug What For!
Irina's First Margarita
The Business Family