Sixty-seven years and counting... For all of those years, this venerable old hotel -the "Gateway to the Pontiac", a phrase coined by Lennox Gavan as quoted in Mick Armitage’s book - has provided a venue for an untold number of performers to showcase their talents and entertain their fans. It’s impossible to name everyone who has graced its stage over all of these years, but a great many of them went on to become members of The Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame; names like Ward Allen, Mac Beattie, Buster Brown, Joe Brown and the Family Brown, Ralph Carlson, Ted Daigle, Gaetan Fairfield, Gail Gavan, Donnie Gilchrist, Lloyd Grant, Howard Hayes, Reg Hill, Ron McMunn, Charlie Muldoon, Don O’Neill, Michael O’Reilly, Orval Prophet, Wayne Rostad, Garnie Scheels, Shirley Sinclair, Joe Teevens, Edie Thomas ... and the list goes on.
Lennox and his wife, Margaret (Meilleur) bought the Cobalt Hotel, as it was known then, in 1946, renaming it Gavan’s Hotel. From that day until they retired in 1983, the place was filled with the sounds of country music, drawing crowds from all over the Pontiac region and the Ottawa Valley. There was always a heavy Irish influence at Gavan’s, and when the Shamrock Lounge was added in 1961, it became the place to be for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with music provided by entertainers like Liam Clancy, Cal Cummings and Jug O’ Punch and Lennox himself, who knew hundreds of traditional Irish songs and stories.
That tradition is carried on to this day by the current owners, Nick and Laurena Matechuk, who purchased the hotel in 1983. Other events like the Quyon Snow Bowl and the Harvest Stomp attract large crowds from both Quebec and Ontario (via the Quyon Ferry from Fitzroy Harbour) with the fine fiddling, fancy step-dancing and country music, and the Lounge usually fills up as soon as the doors open for these events. Gavan’s is still the most popular and well-run hotel in all of the Pontiac, and The Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize it as a 2013 inductee.