Explore the Resort
Discover your favourite feature at our unique and historical Ontario resort
The Peacock House
As you approach our main entrance, you won’t be able to miss our lovely Peacock House, a small octagonal building with windows on every side. The building was designed by Dr. Francis C. Sibbald after similar buildings he had seen in Shanghai and it was completed in 1885. 1978 was another memorable year when it was restored by John and Barbara Sibbald, and became Ontario Heritage Trust Designated. The pineapple finial which completes the top of the roof, a traditional symbol of welcome, blew off this year in a big spring storm and is being restored with the hopes of re-installation. This lovely spot is ideal for romantic wedding photos.
Hide away in the bright and peaceful tower, where you can settle in for a good read or simply take in the 360 degree views of the resort and Lake Simcoe. Once upon a time, a seventy foot tall bell tower graced the original Briars Coach House, as designed by Dr. Francis C. Sibbald. It was removed in the 1940's when the structure became unsafe. Sadly, John Sibbald was never able to climb the tower because he was too young, so he always harboured a desire to rebuild it. In 1978 a small bell tower was erected and houses the original bell. In 1989 the new 70-foot Viewing Tower was completed with stairs and an elevator to magnificent views of Lake Simcoe and the grounds. Select a book from the shelves, find the perfect spot on a window seat, and enjoy!
Suit of Armour
Be sure to stop and say hello to our resident suit of armour as you head towards Drinkwaters’ Lounge from our main reception area. A gift to Marjorie and Jack Sibbald on the occasion of their wedding in the 1920's, this reproduction Samurai armour was collected by Dr. Francis C. Sibbald on his visit to 'the Orient'. For many years, the armour wore red long johns underneath its heavy exterior, which gave it quite a dramatic look. Alas, when Marjorie hung them out to dry during spring cleaning one year, a bird nested in them and they were never quite the same! The armour now holds court in the main hallway of the Inn.
A locked room can hold many secrets, or it can be a secret unto itself. While guiding some of our guests on a historical tour of the resort, our resident archivist discovered just such a room. When John Sibbald opened it, they discovered a wealth of Sibbald family history, including heirlooms, documents, and the journals dating back to 1837 hold William Sibbald’s perspective on his role in and the times around the Upper Canada Rebellion. The history room is open 'by chance' to overnight guests of the resort.