Guest contributors John and Sandra Nowlan visit the luxurious Fox Harb’r Resort and dispel the notion that its only lure is spectacular golf.
The co-founder of Canada’s largest restaurant chain was an avid golf and airplane fan.
Ron Joyce, who became a billionaire with profits from the Tim Hortons coffee and donut empire, combined his passions. In 1987, he acquired 1100 acres of pristine waterfront property along Nova Scotia’s Northumberland Strait, near his birthplace and directly across from Prince Edward Island.
On it, he built a 5,000-foot airstrip and a 250-acre championship golf course.
Fox Harb’r Resort offers much more than golf
Ron Joyce’s original idea was to attract the rich and famous to the gated community of Fox Harb’r by adding a few private townhouses.
That vision has now evolved into a five-star, four-diamond resort handling up to 220 guests in 88 large suites facing the ocean. The property also has a high-end restaurant with fresh produce from the resort’s own greenhouse, a vineyard, and a Two Goblet designation from Wine Spectator Magazine.
The resort eventually added a spa with a junior Olympic swimming pool, a sheltered marina that can handle two dozen yachts up to 80 feet in length, kayaking & paddle boarding, and tennis/pickleball courts.
The property also offers a fully stocked trout pond, and a rustic Sporting Lodge built with post and beam construction. The lodge includes a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and leather furniture from the former home of Johnny Cash. Activities include archery, axe throwing, and skeet shooting.
And one of the best golf courses in Canada
In 2001, the Par 72 Fox Harb’r Golf Course, planned by renowned designer Graham Cooke, was named the best new course in Canada by Golf Digest Magazine and remains one of Canada’s finest.
In 2009 the course record – a 63 – was shot by Tiger Woods.
A memorable stay at Fox Harb’r Resort
The resort is still secluded and its low-key entrance and the cutoff to the small community of Fox Harbour can be easily missed by drivers along Nova Scotia’s Sunrise Trail. Once through the gates and along Amazing Grace Boulevard, the excellent landscaping is immediately evident.
For check-in at Fox Harb’r Resort, visitors stop at the new Joyce Centre. The 37,000-square-foot building overlooks the 9th hole and Northumberland Strait and includes a modern convention center with a reception area, a ballroom/banquet hall, and several boardrooms.
Our comfortable suite was in one of fourteen, two-story buildings running parallel to the golf course and the saltwater shoreline.
Extremely generous in size by hotel standards, our unit included a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, a gas fireplace, and a door leading to a balcony overlooking the action on the back nine combined with the bracing aroma of fresh sea air.
The room had a large, flat-screen TV, coffee maker, microwave oven, and a well-stocked fridge. The separate bedroom had a very comfortable king-size bed with its own TV while the well-lit bathroom featured a granite, heated floor, a two-person therapeutic tub with fluffy towels, and high-end toiletries by Molton Brown.
Exceptional food and wine
The sparkling wine welcome amenity in our room came from the Fox Harb’r Vineyard. Nova Scotia white wines, in particular, are outstanding.
Fox Harb’r Resort takes its cuisine seriously, too, in both the main Cape Cliff Dining Room and Willard Gastropub.
The menu features produce from the resort’s on-site greenhouse, meat from local farmers, and fresh seafood obtained just minutes away. Through the spring, summer, and fall seasons, special dinners are often planned. The Fox Harb’r President Kevin Toth told us his culinary goal is to celebrate and elevate the local cuisine.
Dinner in the evening, one of several special events throughout the season, featured a winemaker from British Columbia who talked about his award-winning vineyard and offered pairings with each of the seven courses prepared by Executive Sous Chef Jeff McInnis and his team.
Chef McInnis has now been promoted to Executive Chef for the 2023 season. Among our favourite dishes were halibut crudo with caviar and fresh herbs, scallops with coconut and green apple and braised pork shoulder with celeriac, apple and onions. The BC wines were a perfect complement.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the main dining room before we left for home. The Lobster Benedict was a culinary delight. Lots of fresh lobster with a perfectly toasted English muffin and a sublime hollandaise sauce. A wonderful ending to an all-too-short stay at Fox Harb’r Resort, a getaway that clearly puts Nova Scotia on the map for high-quality, high-end accommodations and cuisine. It’s not just for golf anymore.
IF YOU GO
All photo credits: John and Sandra Nowlan
The Nowlans were guests of Fox Harb’r Resort but any options expressed in this post are their own.
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