By Sue Tiffin
While many have been known to walk right in, even paddle on up to the Dominion Hotel and Pub, the Minden hot spot also welcomes those who want to cycle by for a pint, a warm meal or a comfortable place to rest after a long bike ride.
The team at the Dominion Hotel and Pub was awarded last week for this hospitality toward cycle tourists, being named the 2022 Best Bicycle-Friendly Business in Ontario’s Highlands from Ontario by Bike. The award recognizes businesses that go above and beyond with “efforts in and excelling at providing services and a welcome to cyclists visiting their locations as well as supporting cycling within their community.”
Dominion Hotel owner Shawn Chamberlin said the Bobcaygeon Road establishment is seeing a fair amount of cycle tourists, noting “a lot of traffic” from Ottawa and Toronto coming to stay for a few days to tour the area.
“The county has done an awful lot to make the roads bike-friendly and we’re hoping for even more as time goes on,” said Chamberlin. “They’ll come up and use us as a centre point, stay for two or three days and just take different loops on their bike.”
They come by bike, or bring their bikes to explore the nearby area – one group came from Toronto, left their cars in the parking lot, and biked to Ottawa and back. Some visit local sightseeing spots, others bike to Dorset and back.
“They’re all saying the same thing, they’re saying that it’s fantastic biking, it’s exactly what they want,” said Chamberlin. “It’s interesting, beautiful country, it’s ups and downs, lots of rocks, trees, rivers and lakes.
Chamberlin said every year the Dominion tries to offer something more, alongside guidance from Ontario by Bike or feedback from cyclists.
“We’ve even run people to Canadian Tire because they’ve needed a tube or something, helped them out with that kind of thing, so we do our best to accommodate,” he said. “We have compressed air for their tires, to blow up their tires, and even a hose that they can use to wash down their bike, wash the road dust off. And they seem to like that.”
Staff is aware of the Dominion’s participation in the Ontario by Bike network, and it’s not hard for them to spot cyclists.
“They’ll come in, we have an all-tile floor, and they’ll come in and we can hear the bottom of their shoes, their cleat connectors – clack, clack, clack, across the floor – right away we know, these are serious bikers,” laughed Chamberlin. He noted they’re also friendly to the local folks, many who come to Dominion by bike rather than drive.
Chamberlin said being able to offer storage or a safe space for bikes at the downtown location gives peace of mind to visitors.
“That really makes a difference, when you’re travelling around a bit and you don’t really know where you are, it helps to give that level of comfort,” he said.
The award is one Chamberlin and staff are proud to receive.
“Our continued long-term success as a community is going to be going after the micro-markets, the speciality markets,” he said. “They’re all looking for something to do. There’s good value to us in trying to accommodate them.”
Dominion Hotel and Pub will be featured in Ontario by Bike’s June 2022 e-newsletter, which is sent to over 16,000 subscribers mid-month.
For more information on the 2022 Best Bicycle-Friendly Business awards visit www.ontariobybike.ca/2022awardwinners.