Upon your arrival at Cavana you will be greeted not only by your hosts but also by the subtle nuances that only a historic property can provide. Built in 1889 by Master Builder S.Pomeroy and designed by J. H. Tool, this property was known to be one of the most aesthetically beautiful residences in Western Orillia.
Allan George Cavana was born in 1852 on a farm outside of Cannington in Brock Township (Ontario). On December 23, 1884 he married local Cannington girl, Elinor Sharp (or Ellie as he affectionately called her). Their marriage brought three sons: John Allan, William George and Ernest Leopold, all of whom are now honoured as the namesakes for the Inn’s luxury suites today.
Mr. Cavana was a man of many interests from real estate to life insurance – his main form of employment, however, was as an Ontario Land Surveyor. He was reputed to have surveyed more territory in new Ontario and the Northwest than any other firm now in business. In 1888 Allan and Ellie announced that they would be building a “Handsome new residence” on Mississaga and Fredrick Streets and in 1889 the house was completed for a lofty sum of three thousand dollars. Mr. J.H Tool signed on as the designer and was very familiar with the architectural trends of the day. Starting with a standard L-plan, he broke up the massing by emphasizing the entrance with a projecting portico linked to the veranda across the front facade. Bay windows, pairs of window openings, the combinations of red brick accented with buff and black were trend-setting techniques at the time. The lattice on the front gables was intended to give the house a delicate and modern appearance. Thankfully you will still see the majority of these features throughout the house today.
Even in his nineties, Allan remained active in his surveying practice. He passed in 1946 and was pre-deceased by his beloved Ellie on Valentine’s Day in 1939. The property was transferred to his eldest son Allan who died in 1955. The Mississaga Street house was sold outside the family shortly after and has been running as a bed and breakfast since 1992. It’s most recent and grandest transition to date – the Cavana House Inn and Spa – was a lifetime ambition for present owners Lee and Joanne Johnston. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston look forward to a day when they too will be included in the history of this much loved property.
A graduate of the Rinaldi College of Aesthetics, Joanne always knew she would open a premier spa facility. Joanne has worked in the spa industry since 2001 and like Lee, prior to that, comes from a hospitality background. When it comes to hard work and passion, Joanne is your girl. She absolutely loves the spa and salon industry and receives authentic joy from helping both her team and visiting clients everyday. Joanne offers such a positive energy and approach to her business and life in general, and has many personal accomplishments in her professional career. She has been part of three national award winning hair competitions through her make-up artistry which has taken her all over the world. Joanne has elevated and led the Cavana business into an award winning property including “Entrepreneurial Initiative Award 2008” – Orillia, “Customer Service Award” – Orillia, “Best Spa” –Orillia every year in a row since 2009. Joanne’s true passion is making clients feel beautiful not only physically but inside as well. Joanne ensures that all clients who visit her property are treated like royalty and like Lee, believes it’s the key to operating a successful business. Joanne looks forward to meeting you and is excited to share the Cavana experience with you.