We just love a good story and Inverary is the bearer of many interesting tales!
The Inverary Story
Inverary was built in the late 1800’s by Cape Breton native, “Millionaire” MacNeil as a residence to show off the fortune he made in Boston. His impressive 11 acre estate, bordering on the beautiful Bras d’Or Lakes, looks across the water to his childhood home of Washabuck. A large, three-storey house, barn and wagon house were beautifully constructed with materials imported from Boston and the estate was truly the showplace of the small village.
Inverary’s hospitality story begins with brothers Chad and Jamie Fownes following World War II. Together with their mother, the brothers bought MacNeil’s estate and founded “Inverary Inn” at the conclusion of their service with the Canadian Forces. The Inn was founded with fond remembrance of their Scottish heritage, and named after Inveraray Castle, home of the Duke of Argyll and head of Clan Campbell. Many Scottish visitors have felt a deep kinship with their homeland while staying at Inverary.
The MacAulay Family
In 1971, Inverary Inn became home to the MacAulay family when one of the Fownes’ most trusted employees became Innkeeper. Isobel MacAulay, along with her husband Dannie, ran the Inn for many years with the same love and passion on which it was founded. Each year a new building was added and, continuing with tradition, was given a Scottish name.
Isobel and Dannie’s son, Scott became Innkeeper in 1979 and brought with him new ideas and more additions to the property, growing the small Scottish inn to the resort experience we offer today. His wife Terri and their children worked and grew up with Inverary and today, Matthew represents its 3rd generation of MacAulay management.
The team here at Inverary embrace those humble beginnings and have worked hard to hold on to those roots and provide our guests a unique, truly Inverary experience. Many guests consider Inverary their home away from home, and as we watch our guests relax by a crackling fire enjoying a buttery oatcake, we know this to be true!
An Unusual Chapel
The Chapel at Inverary Resort was donated to Isobel and Daniel MacAulay, owners of the 11 acre resort on the Bras d’Or Lakes, by Conn Smythe, builder of the Maple Leaf Gardens and creator of many Stanley Cup winning hockey teams.
In the early 1980’s Mr. Smythe was travelling in Nova Scotia and stayed at the Inverary. His health was poor and he spent most of his time in his room. A widower, it was said he had the air of a man that was dying but wasn’t ready to go.
In a passing conversation with him, Mrs. MacAulay related to Mr. Smythe that they were expanding the Inverary and when time and money allowed, they were hoping to have a chapel on the property for their visitors to enjoy. “Someday, you’ll have your chapel” he said.
A short time later Mr. Smythe died back home in Toronto. One of the family called the MacAulays and said his father wanted to make a gift of the chapel. It was built; weddings and christenings are held there now, and many visitors enjoy it each year.