Greg Ftoma has been swamped with resort bookings and is hiring summer time workers sooner than traditional. 

Ftoma and his spouse run Brereton Lake Resort in Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park, about 135 kilometres east of Winnipeg. In addition they personal a restaurant, gasoline station, boat rental and laundromat within the space.

He’s shocked his enterprise has been leaping since Might, regardless of an exceptionally sluggish March and April due to COVID-19. Ftoma admits he wasn’t ready for the uptake to occur so rapidly. Not solely has he introduced in his seasonal workers sooner than final yr, he’s hiring one other three staff.

“It is ridiculous. It is like what we might see in summer time — July and August. We’re all boggled. We’re getting 15 to 20 emails a day from folks scrambling to discover a spot in Manitoba,” mentioned Ftoma.

Seeing new faces

A lot of the bookings are from vacationers in Winnipeg and Steinbach, Man., he says. Some are regulars, and some are looking for a last-minute vacation spot — like households who’ve needed to cancel plans to go to different provinces or the US due to the coronavirus, closed borders and two-week quarantine restrictions.

Ftoma says even with the pandemic, his enterprise is up 25 to 35 per cent over the identical time final yr.

In some methods, it has been tougher to generate profits with the late begin and fewer early reservations. However now, he says, “we’re surpassing final yr, as a result of there are simply extra folks. Extra persons are popping out, faces now we have by no means seen earlier than,” he mentioned.

Many are making day journeys, he says, and they’re popping out in droves. On any given Saturday, he estimates there are between 50 and 75 automobiles parked on the roadside, mountain climbing trails within the space, stopping at Ftoma’s restaurant or retailer for foods and drinks.

Glad for Part 3

He’s now reserving cabins into mid-September, with one week nonetheless out there in July and August filling up.

Over at Falcon Trails Resort, additionally within the Whiteshell, there’s not a gap to be discovered till mid-September.

A springtime view searching onto the Clear Lake docks and picnic space from the Wasagaming townsite. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

At Clear Lake, Reg Kehler is relieved Manitoba is transferring into Part 3 — which kicked in June 21 — which he’s banking on to salvage his summer time.

Part Three of Manitoba’s reopening plan permits guests to return from Western Canada or a part of northwestern Ontario with out having to self-isolate for 2 weeks if they do not have COVID-19 signs.

Kehler owns 50 stand-alone cottages and a resort in Driving Mountain Nationwide Park, about 250 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. About half of his shoppers come from Saskatchewan and the rest from Manitoba, Alberta and B.C.

He was inundated with cancellations at the start of the yr, however now he’s beginning to see a fast turnaround. He has averaged 15 to 20 bookings on every of the previous two days.

Extra last-minute bookings

“Guests from Saskatchewan are holding off on cancelling, and now that they do not should isolate, we hope they may nonetheless come,” mentioned Kehler. “I’m optimistic they may come again.”

His enterprise is down 30 per cent over the identical time final yr. However with Part Three kicking in, he’s eager for a fast rebound. Like Ftoma, he too is seeing much more last-minute bookings from Manitobans who’re scrambling to salvage cancelled vacation plans.

“We’re seeing much more Manitoba and Winnipeg motion. Extra bookings domestically than ever earlier than. Some, surprisingly, say they’ve by no means been to Clear Lake earlier than,” mentioned Kehler.

“Clear Lake is a gem. A mini-Banff. Stunning water, top quality golf course and mountain climbing trails. Just a few hours away,” he added.

Vehicles line the streets of the Wasagaming townsite on the shores of Clear Lake, Man. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

At Thunderbird Bungalows in Wasagaming, the story is analogous. Proprietor Louise Lusignan says half of her repeat guests from Saskatchewan cancelled earlier within the yr. Now she is hoping with Part 3, they may come again. 

“Had the necessary isolation not been lifted, we might have been in deep trouble,” mentioned Lusignan. “I do not know if we might have pulled by the season.”

In a typical yr, her 25 cabins are all booked by June 26. She nonetheless has a couple of openings, with July full.

Excited as July approaches

At Brereton Lake resort, Ftoma is worked up to ramp up for what he says can be a busy summer time.

“I do not know what’s going to occur this summer time, however I am very excited, will probably be good for enterprise,” mentioned Ftoma.

He is thrilled to see new faces he has by no means seen earlier than in addition to guests telling him they have not been again to the Whiteshell in 30 years since they had been a baby. 

“That is what it is all about. Nice recollections. And making new ones this summer time.”


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