It was the only restaurant in the village of Tantallon, Sask., and it’s completely gone.
The Valley View Hotel went up in flames on April 25. The structure is not able to be salvaged, according to the Rocanville Fire Department, who responded to the blaze on Thursday morning at 2:20 a.m. CT.
The local landmark was built between 1915 and 1930 and a portion of the building was added in the early 2000s.
This blaze is part of a growing number of historic hotel fires in rural Saskatchewan.
READ MORE: Fire destroys Kyle, Sask. hotel
The Valley View Hotel was a community staple families would frequent, according to Kyle Brule, owner of the hotel.
“It was really one of the only things left in the village. It was a major gathering place for everything, weddings, funerals, you name it,” he said.
The cause of the fire is still not known, but Brule said fire inspectors are investigating and he said the “old part was burning first.”
Brule, who owned the hotel for 13 years, said the community is reeling from the loss, and he’s receiving an outpour of support from them too.
“I’ve had tons of support pouring in from in the community and outside, from people who had even only ever been there once, or been there a million times. It’s a blow.”
“My phone hasn’t stopped. People calling and seeing what they can do, the Facebook comments – there’s lots of support.”
The Valley View Hotel was up for sale at the time of the fire, and Brule had the hotel on the market “on and off for eight years” as he desired to spend more time with family. He would intermittently “test the market.”
“I bought it when I was younger and single, now I have a bit of a family going here – married and one stepdaughter, so I was just looking to spend a little more time with them.
“With the bar business, you’re kind of married to it, he said, adding “you’re there lots.”
Brule said despite having the hotel up for sale, he’s going to stay committed to the possibility of a re-build as the community now has a massive hole in its social opportunities.
But there are more questions than answers at this point.
“I don’t know if insurance will cover getting back to the size we need. I had 150 seats in there, and for nights like wing night, that’s what we needed. To cover the cost of a re-build, that size would be a big undertaking but yes, it is a thought, and something I’m looking into.
“If the option there to be able to do it, I really think that’s something that we will go forward with. You can always hang a ‘for sale’ sign up again after and hope somebody who really wants to do it can do it.
As for Brule’s state of mind after the loss of his business, he’s “worried.”
“I’m trying to figure out where to go, what to do next. I’m at a loss here,” he said.
“I’m used to going to work every day, this is different for me – having to sit and not be able to do something right away.”
Though Brule is in a state of the unknown dealing with the loss, he’s thankful for the help of the firefighters who battled the six-hour blaze, and the community’s support.
Brule said his next steps are looking into his insurance to see what his options are for the possible re-build.
“It’s needed in this community. It brought people together.”
Tantallon is about 225 kilometres east of Regina.