Archives For The Rosseau

Ghost of Paignton House

MH3 —  July 16, 2013

Spent the weekend at The Rosseau in Muskoka, a JW Marriott brand property.

Their tag line is “nature on your terms.” Well when I got my bill I thought it was closer to “nature on a 36-month lease”…because that’s the term I will need to pay it down.

If you call four pools, three restaurants, half dozen elevators, and a golf cart shuttle service “nature”, then I guess they are right. This place is l-l-l-large. Dominates the skyline, overpowers the shoreline, and destroyed the sightlines for more than just one cottage. But truthfully… I loved it. Oh hippo-hypocrite that I am.

But one thing bothered me. I used to work “there” and nobody cared. See, back in the day, the same acreage on Lake Rosseau was home to Paignton House. A lovely wee conference and family resort, that was also affectionately known as a poor man’s Clevelands House. I have blogged about Paignton before. One of the Paignton traditions I loved was the hanging of the past staff photos in the lobby. When I last stepped into Paignton in the late ’90s…my 1984 & 1985 photos were still hung proudly. Fast forward to 2013 and no longer.

So I started asking questions. I asked my waitress. I asked my bartender. I asked the pool staff. No one knew where the photos were. No one knew about Paignton House. No one knew me!

I was reduced to being the ghost of Paignton past. How distressing. I needed someone to tell my stories to… like when our cabin neighbour “Jacque” (who wasn’t French, but was from Sault Ste. Marie so the racist handle stuck), was peeing into his overflowing toilet one night while straddling the basin with his feet wedged into the wall studs. There he was wedged, with the door wide open for all of us partying staff to see as he somehow rationalized adding fluid to an Alberta-like flow.

No one was ready to hear about my over-sized bunkmate who snored so loudly that my roomie Rosie & I went Muhammad Ali on him every night and still couldn’t beat him into silence. There were no takers for the tales that only a nineteen year old could dream of and those that didn’t happen I made up anyway.

Cottage parties. Staff hookups. Guest-staff hookups. Guest-guest hookups. Drunken bar managers emceeing an evening show (who was that?). The scary staff food. The carpools to the liquor store. The local couple who got drunk in my bar and fought every Sunday. The cottage couple who did the same on Tuesdays. The rich staffer with the Camaro and his harem of waitresses from our dining room. The rich staffer who quits after five weeks, because why work when you can party. The rich staffer’s groupie who followed the harem into the parties carrying the cooler of Malibu rum and beer. (Hey, I was darn good at carrying that cooler!)

I think the Rosseau needs to write some briefing notes for the staff enfants! I can’t be the first ghost to show up. It was the time of my life, or at least that’s the line we stole from the movie Dirty Dancing. I should have been provided an audience to hear about it!