Prince Edward County’s Drake Devonshire

“Welcome to the Drake Devonshire. John has a pretty good gig, too. The staffer greeting me with the tray of cocktails isn’t a permanent perk for arriving guests. I discover Jeff is an antiques junkie. Kayla Rocca, courtesy of Drake Devonshire9. It’s soon clear to me that Mia has the coolest job in the world. A lot. Before I have to head home to the city, we gather around the beach-side fire pit and watch the sun go down. To blend them together, Toronto designer John Tong of +tongtong layered the interiors with quirky vintage finds and colourful modern accents. Inside, opposing adjectives like “quaint” and “cool” compete for your affection. Later, in the lake-view dining room, he’ll treat us to a multi-course dinner that I happily finish every last bite of, despite having said “yes!” to the countless snacks offered throughout the afternoon. Jeff notes that he loves the pavilion’s A-frame structure — “It looks like it has been here forever,” — but I’ve only got eyes for the custom mural by Brooklyn-based Faile, which covers one wall and looks like a collage of street art, album covers and wallpaper scraps. So while I don’t get to sip a cappuccino on the large back deck while watching the morning mist lift off Lake Ontario, I do get a personal tour of the hotel with owner Jeff Stober, John Tong and Mia Neilson, who curated all of the artwork. I’m there for a media preview, which aims to give me the experience of a weekend stay in a few short hours. He gets excited all over again recounting the story of how he snagged the vintage secretary desk that now functions as a hostess stand. A bright yellow door on the far side of a cobblestone courtyard offers a sunny welcome to visitors who’ve made the two-plus hour drive to Prince Edward County from Toronto or further. We wander into the newly built A-frame pavilion, which is hosting a raw bar piled high with fresh seafood prepared by Chef Matt DeMille, who graced the kitchens at Toronto’s Canoe, Parts Labour and Enoteca Sociale, to name a few, before moving to the country. It turns out he’s a regular at the Brimfield Antique Show in Massachusetts and has a fine-tuned system for buying, storing and shipping found treasures. Part of the hotel occupies a renovated 19th century iron foundry, onto which ERA Architects added new light-filled spaces. Photo credits:1-8. In the guest rooms, Jeff’s vintage furniture is paired with custom platform beds sporting beadboard headboards, colour-blocked walls and bold area rugs.

Updated: 09.12.2014 — 00:17