DAN CEARNS The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: After many years as a staple of the Lindsay area, The Grand Experience restaurant will be closing at the end of this month.
On Tuesday, August 4th, owner Charlie McDonald announced, on Facebook, the local restaurant will be closing their doors on August 31st.
“After 160 years of serving the Downtown Lindsay community, the buildings of 171-185 Kent Street have been sold, and because I have not had a lease since this past March, we have been evicted with 30 days notice,” read the social media post. “To say that I am devastated would be an understatement. This restaurant has been a staple of the community and there have been a million memories made under this roof.”
Mr. McDonald told The Standard how he was notified of the eviction. “I was given a letter by the owner a couple weeks ago saying he had sold the building,” he said. “It’s a business deal. He sold it to another business. My lease ran out in March, so I was month to month on my lease. I was hoping, and we were talking a couple weeks ago, about renewing the lease and he was going to fix up the place. Then obviously he must’ve got an offer. It was kind of a shock, and that’s basically how it happened.”
Neil Arbour of APG Kent Street Properties Corp., which had owned the property, provided a quick statement, but said the company would not comment further.
“Change is needed and inevitable for the progress of society. All I can say at this time is a change is forthcoming, however until all approvals needed are met and satisfied there will be no press releases,” he wrote, in an email to The Standard.
Mr. McDonald said he is unaware of any future plans for the site, or who the new owner is.
The closing of The Grand Experience will put over 30 staff members out of work.
Mr. McDonald has been overwhelmed by the number of community members who have reached out to him since the eviction news broke. “This was an icon, it was people’s place to go to. It’s so sad that something is going to happen to it,” he said. “It’s been very emotional, the support that me and my family have had. It’s overwhelming [and] appreciated. You don’t know really how many people care about The Grand until something tragic like this happens.”
In the Facebook post, Mr. McDonald encouraged people to come celebrate the restaurant’s last days.
“Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of us. I would love for everyone to come and enjoy a last ‘grand experience’ with us this month. Please share your memories with us, and thank you for the generations of laughter and fun,” he wrote.
Mr. McDonald is also willing to accommodate requests for parts of this historic business.
“If anyone would like a memory of The Grand, then they can come in and see if they would like anything, and we’ll go from there.”