The Opinicon; a Feast for the Senses

The Opinicon at Chaffeys Locks
Photo credit: Brian Turner.
Posted on: July 17, 2018

Brian Turner

The long wait for the reopening of The Opinicon at Chaffeys Locks last year was certainly worth it. This resort and dining facility has a storied history dating back to 1865 when John Chaffey built the main structure. It grew and evolved over the years under multiple owner/operators to become a destination of desire for locals and visitors alike looking for an idyllic refuge nestled among the trees and hills next to Murphy’s Bay off Opinicon Lake and the canal locks. Its current owners Fiona McKean and Tobias Lutke purchased the property in 2015 and have restored the main lodge, outbuildings, and rental cottages to their former glory with a perfect mix of yesteryear and modern conveniences and styling. Picture those family resorts in the Catskills of New York State as depicted in the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ with a unique Ontario flavor and you’ve got the image.

My partner and I attended the dining room in the main lodge on a bright warm sunny afternoon for lunch and were amazed at the architectural details that were lovingly restored, the abundance of very friendly and accommodating staff, the pristine grounds, and the large number of visitors (even their ice-cream shop in their general/cottage store draws fans who often drive for hours just to enjoy a cool treat).

The large main dining room is completely surrounded by expansive windows providing great views of the beautiful scenery. The menu is available to both dining room and pub attendees (and their pub is almost as large and just as windowed as the dining room). It has something for just about every taste and appetite with a great selection of sharing and individual apps, soup/sandwich combos, full entrees, comfort food, and fresh desserts. We thought we had settled on a couple of appropriate choices until our server tempted us with the day’s specials. I ordered the prime rib sandwich with greens salad and my partner chose a very unique take on soft-shelled tacos.

My generously portioned beef sandwich was served on a multi-grained artisanal roll with just the right amount of crust crunch and soft tasty interior. It was garnished with provolone cheese, caramelized onions and a not-too-far over the top aioli. The local greens salad was fresh and not overpowered by a light vinaigrette dressing. My partner’s 3 well-sized soft-shelled tacos were stuffed with beef donair meat, and a great take on a sweet veggie/fruit chutney and topped with a sweet garlic sauce. As the scenery and delightful weather had us in a bit of a trance, we opted for a rare shared dessert and weren’t disappointed. The Opinion’s version of lemon meringue pie for one was two tortes with a dense and flavourful filling and ultra-light topping. In all our lunch with wine and a craft beer came to less than $65 before tip.

If the taste and flavours don’t tell you, the menu will; The Opinicon is proud to support local farms and suppliers with their offerings. They’re located at 1697 Chaffeys Locks Road, just off Highway 15 between Crosby and Elgin. You can reach them at 613-359-5233 and reservations are strongly recommended. The resort offers all types of accommodations and activities and is a perfect getaway for two as well as a great venue for larger family gatherings and celebrations.