Grouse Mountain Resort, the Lower Mainland’s top tourist attraction, has been sold to the company headed by Kamloops Blazers’ majority owner Tom Gaglardi.
Vancouver-based Northland Properties Corp., the largest, privately held hospitality group in North America, has purchased Grouse from CM (Canada) Asset Management Co. Ltd.
Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close later this month, marking the second time in three years that the resort has changed hands after the McLaughlin family, which owned the resort for 40 years, sold it to CM in summer 2017.
“It’s business as usual,” said Kenny Zou, CM’s managing director, after the 2017 sale. “It’s mostly going to be driven by the management team and we want to let them run this business. We want to be very clear — we are investors and it’s the management team’s job to run it.”
At the time of the sale there was much consternation about what a sale to CM would mean for the future of the resort.
“Since our acquisition in 2017, Grouse has made significant strategic investments in management, sales and marketing, facilities and infrastructure, adventure offerings and technology capabilities to bolster its value-add for guests,” Zou said in a news release. “We are delighted to have partnered with such a collaborative management team and achieved impressive growth. Looking ahead, joining one of Canada’s top hospitality groups will be highly beneficial for Grouse Mountain’s guests, employees and partners.”
Now Grouse, which welcomes 1.3-million guests each year, joins the Northland Properties Corp., which includes the Sandman Hotel Group, The Sutton Place Hotels, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Denny’s Restaurants, Chop Steakhouses, Shark Club Sports Bar Grill, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and the Dallas Stars of the NHL.
“With our strong family and company roots in Vancouver, B.C., we are excited with the opportunity to make this acquisition,” Tom Gaglardi, president & CEO of Northland Properties Corp., said in a release. “We look forward to working closely with the existing team and leadership group, as well the community, to ensure we maintain and evolve the iconic Grouse Mountain experience for all of our visitors.”
Gaglardi, a native of Kamloops whose grandfather was former Socred highways minister Flyin’ Phil Gaglardi, narrowly missed out on buying the Vancouver Canucks after losing a high-profile B.C. Supreme Court battle to rival Francesco Aquilini in 2009. Now Gaglardi owns the mountain to which Milan Lucic brought the Stanley Cup after his Boston Bruins beat Aquilini’s Canucks in 2011.
It stands to reason that Grouse Mountain will also see some renovations under its new ownership. In the 10 years since Northland purchased Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the Gaglardis have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the resort as part of a 15-year plan to turn the Mount Mackenzie resort into an international, year-round luxury getaway.
“We welcome the opportunity to join Canada’s fastest-growing hospitality group,” Michael Cameron, president of Grouse Mountain Resort, said in a release. “As a leader in the hotel and restaurant industry, Northland Properties has shown tremendous growth and innovation across their diversified group of companies. We look forward to working together, recognizing the accomplishments that the Grouse Mountain Resort and its team have achieved over the years and continuing to build on that success.”