The story of Arowhon Pines began in 1938 when Lillian Kates decided to build accommodation for parents visiting their children at Camp
Arowhon. The drive from Toronto took almost half a day; add a boat trip up Canoe Lake, a portage around Joe Lake Dam and another boat
ride up Joe Lake:
it was a full day's travel from the city.
The nature of the location dictated log buildings. It took nearly two years for two local woodsmen, Jack and Paul Lucasavitch, working with a team of horses on the site, to collect and hew the logs that were needed. The hand notched corners of the dining room exemplify their extraordinary skill. They did not have power tools, chain saws or even electricity in those days. The great steel chimney in the dining room came up from Toronto in two pieces, by railway to the end of Joe Lake, and was then towed up the lake on a barge and hoisted into place with a homemade 'gin pole' and a small hand winch.
In 1970, Lillian Kates retired at age 80 and Helen and Eugene Kates thought "it would be fun to run a summer resort in Algonquin Park". They found it to be a magnificent setting that had not been properly completed or well maintained; little did they realize the enormity of the challenge both in refurbishing, reorganizing and finally rebuilding the old accommodations and kitchen. They soon realized that a seasonal kitchen in the wilds of Algonquin would need a special approach to meet their standards. Arowhon's own recipes and menus had to be developed to deal with the annual changes in staff and the vagaries of delivery to the north country, culminating in sending a taxi twice a week to bring fresh fish and supplies.
People became aware that Arowhon really could deliver comfort, fine cuisine and a warm welcome in the woods of Algonquin Park. An invitation to join the prestigious organization, the Relais et Chateaux, was a concrete recognition of their success. Arowhon continues to search out and motivate a staff that strives for excellence.