Heather Lodge was long known as a special residence in Rawdon with a unique ambiance. It was the dream of George Finlayson and his wife, Nina to build a lodge where guests could spend a holiday in Rawdon pampered in luxurious surroundings and nourished with the finest of foods.
Although he Finlaysons were residents of Westmount and active in that community, they also had interests in Rawdon. George was president of the Rawdon Land and Construction Company which had been formed to promote the development of the Lakeshore area. He was one of the founders of the Rawdon Golf Club and was instrumental in the building of its clubhouse. This lodge would cater to clients of the golf course.
While he was supervising the building of the Heather Lodge on July 29, 1939, a scaffold broke and he and four other men fell to the ground. He suffered several broken bones and was taken to the St Eusèbe Hospital in Joliette. He succumbed in hospital after undergoing an operation to set his hip bone.
Despite her shock and grief, Nina decided to continue the building of their dream lodge and she personally supervised the running of the establishment. The lodge was open from early summer to late fall with many guests returning year after year.
When Nina was well into her eighties she decided to downsize and built a smaller place on the Lakeshore which she called Thistle Manor. The Lodge was sold to Pete Robinson to serve as a long term patient care facility. His wife, Lou, a nurse, ran the facility for many years. It was then sold to Paul Arbec whose family continues to run this place as a private hospital as well as the Thistle Manor which is now a public long term care facility.
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