An open letter

To our valued customers,

It with great sadness, that after 47 years, and 3 generations operating The Portage Store on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park, that we lost our contract to operate The Portage Store at the Canoe Lake Store and Restaurant Concession.

We were truly grateful every day to be part of The Portage Store – or “P Store” as we’ve come to know it. Nothing was ever taken for granted and we cannot thank our customers enough for their support over nearly half a century. Sven and Donna Miglin have been part of The Portage Store for 47 years and together serve as the Canoe Lake Store and Restaurant Concession’s longest operator.

Perhaps the greatest joy was getting to work with all the wonderful staff that passed through the P Store. To all of them we say thank you so very much for the great job you did. Over the years there have been more than 30 P Store marriages and it became commonplace to hire the kids of staff that worked at the P Store 25 years earlier. Nothing contributed more to building the reputation The Portage Store enjoyed than the staff that worked there.

The restaurant wall was adorned by a 40-year-old 26lb lake trout caught on Tom Thomson Lake; the walls were emblazoned with paddles that were decorated by annual our staff regatta championship teams; staff service award and pictures were mounted in the restaurant; the homemade hamburger recipe had not changed in nearly 50 years. There was something more to The Portage Store than the sum of its parts. The Portage Store was unique, it embodied countless memories, tradition, character and charm.

In a world where branded identities are the ever-increasing norm, where customers come to expect franchises, conglomerates or the sight of recognizable multi-store branches;
The Portage Store lived nearly alone in a special space. There was only one The Portage Store and over the course of 47 years, those that operated it: the staff members, the managers and the owners, committed wholeheartedly to making it this unique and special place.

Our hearts are filled with joy when thinking of the amazing and memorable moments we shared with you all. It is after all, what we will remember most when thinking of our time there.

While we are evaluating different options, we are not at present, entirely sure what our next steps will be. We still plan to hold our annual Used Canoe Sale in May or June and it will be bigger and better than ever. Location and details to come. Please visit our online store to get in on some great sales. This may well be your LAST CHANCE to purchase some one-of-a-kind The Portage Store Merchandise. Our custom designs may never be produced again, so get them while you still can!

Many customers have reached out to us and encouraged us to open up an Outfitting Store just outside Algonquin Park. They believe that we have the staff, the canoes & equipment and the expertise to provide that wonderful Portage Store experience at a new location. Who knows, time will tell. We will be glad to share with you what our next steps are whenever they arise, and hope to be able to reconnect with you in the future.

The moments we shared with customers and staff members over the years, will last a lifetime, thank all of you,

Sven, Donna, Liana & Vince