Tribute to the Cabri Hotel

During the early morning hours of March 12, the Cabri Hotel caught fire.

According to local residents, the surrounding buildings are undamaged, but the three-storey building with sixteen guest rooms and common room are been completely lost to the fire.

Colleen Reynolds, who owned the hotel from 1991 to 1999 shared that the hotel was around 110 years old.

Another person who shared their fond memories of their time at the Cabri Hotel was Catherine Higginbotham.

“It’s hard to shake the sad feeling I have after hearing how Cabri lost its famous Cabri Hotel to a fire, in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

It’s bringing on all the nostalgia feels from everyone, so let me share mine with you as I know Cabri Hotel was known to many, not just those in Cabri. 

After moving to Canada in November 2007, I started working in the bar part-time in January 2008. I didn’t drive back then, just rode a bicycle, so my employment opportunities in a small town were pretty limited. This turned out to be fortuitous as I loved both my new small town jobs.

I worked at the Co-op in the day and the bar at night. Changing between shifts often meant running across the road from one job to another and changing outfits in the storeroom! The nights were long but I enjoyed it. I wish I had a Fitbit back then as there were many, many, many steps put on running backwards and forwards from the bar to the kitchen, serving drinks then cooking ribs, wings and pizza. I would have clocked up an impressive amount as the bar was always busy and often large groups of customers would appear at all times, be it from the rink, community hall, resident rig crews, football games or just because it was Tuesday! It was here I was introduced to bottle cap shots which were my then favourite thing about Canada! 

I knew my Grandma had once ran the restaurant there before the dining room addition was added. This was of course long before my time but I loved feeling connected to the place, even though I grew up thousands of miles away in the UK.

Working at the bar was a great way to make friends and an excellent way to know who everyone was in my new small town. I loved being the new girl in town, small-town people didn’t have the built-in privacy filter I was used to, so they would just come straight up to you and ask who you were and why you were there. So straightforward, it was refreshing. I kept it up for 5 years, leaving only when I was massively pregnant and this ‘geriatric’ was unable to keep up the pace. I had to knock the late nights on the head. My final job was to paint the Roughrider signs on the floor for Wendy and I made an umpire with moving arms out of the pillar in front of the bar, it was nice to feel like I had made an impression or at least left my mark on the place.

I then moved to Eatonia and left Cabri behind. Although my family is still there and I visit often, bars don’t have the same pull once you are sober (9 years for me now! woo-hoo!) so I haven’t actually been in the Cabri Hotel for a while. Now, I never will get the chance to again. 

Remember the good times Cabri (and everyone else in Saskatchewan and the world over who graced its doors over the years.) The old girl saw a lot in her 110 years. The building may be gone but the stories always remain. 

Big shout out to the volunteer firefighters and my brother who is the Fire Chief there. He was on scene just after 2 am to find smoke billowing out of the windows. After shutting off the gas he ventured in, realizing the fire was in the basement he headed through the smoke to make sure the place was evacuated. Thankfully no one was hurt and the surrounding buildings still remain. The view from Highway 32 may never be the same again but the heart of the town will continue to keep the good things happening in Cabri.”

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