Hudson landmark Auberge Willow Inn to close for good Tuesday, November 1
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
It will be last orders, ladies and gentlemen please, at Hudson's historic Auberge Willow Inn on Tuesday, November 1.
Following months of rumours and speculation, it was confirmed this week that Hudson's historic Auberge Willow Inn overlooking the Lake of Two Mountains and with roots going back to circa 1820, will definitely close on November 1.
Said owner, Michel Poirier who - together with Pierre Lanctôt and Carole Ménard bought The Willow on Main Road and five-bedroom Anchorage across the street in March 2013, and who became sole owner in January 2015 - in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal September 7, “I realize that so many people will be sad to learn we are closing. It has been part of the life of so many local residents and others from throughout the region going back many generations.
“But the simple fact is that while we always enjoy a good summer season, and this year was no exception, that is not true of the long winter months when we also obviously need a full service inn. And as a businessman, I had to face the fact that we were simply losing money on a year-round basis and that no matter how hard we tried, it was not going to get any better.”
In a brief and succinct official press statement dated Tuesday, September 6, and only released after he met with Willow management and senior staff earlier in the day to break the news, Poirier stated, “It is with regret that I inform the population of Vaudreuil-Soulanges and surroundings of my decision to put definitively an end to the activities of the Auberge Willow as of November 1, 2016. I wish to thank all of the employees and customers who have accompanied me in this adventure for the past four years.
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
This view enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors to Auberge Willow Inn over the decades will no longer be accessible from the back lawn of the historic property as of November 1.
“It has been an amazing ride for those four years, and I could not have done it without them,” he told YLJ. “And I wanted them to know of my decision first. It was tough. As I know that they have always represented The Willow with pride and that this will mean that, come November, they will be out of work here. Until then, however, I know that they will continue to give their all as they have always done.”
As for the future of the property itself? Said Poirier, “It's on the table for reflection.”
The Auberge Willow Inn was originally built as the private home of George Mallette and his family around 1820. Four years later, the house was purchased by François Xavier Desjardins, then the only French-speaking member of the community who operated it as a store. F.X. Desjardins was a great Patriot and his store became the local headquarters of the Patriote Mouvement secretly and illegally gathering arms and ammunition for the cause.
Since then over the decades, the establishment has been operated as a boarding house by the Brasseur family, a residential hotel by the Léger Family, as a pub, dining room and inn by first the Garbutts, then Jim Ross and John Corker, and eventually by Mike Dobbie and Ron Rozon for 30 years.
According to the Auberge Willow website, in June 1989, the inn was completely destroyed by a kitchen fire but was rebuilt within a year and every effort was made to recreate the style of the original inn being completed in December 1989.