In 1948, Roger Chernuck Sr. built his first cottage on the shores of beautiful Rice Lake, marking the beginning of the incredible over 60-year legacy of Golden Beach Resort that continues to this day. Roger's dedication and hard work has been carried on by his daughters, who now own and operate the resort. The "Golden Girls", as they are affectionately called, have made many changes to the resort but still maintain its family environment and tradition developed by Roger.
In 1946, the Chernuck family, consisting of Nick & Eva, son Roger, daughter Lena and Eva's mother & father left Russia to begin a new life in Canada. While in Hawesbury, they noticed an ad in the Montreal Gazette for a large farm for sale on Rice Lake, Ontario. Complete with 290 acres, including one mile of lake frontage, a variety of farm animals, a farmhouse and bungalow, the farm was purchased for $10,000.
Here we see one of the first cottages being constructed at Golden Beach resort.
In 1948, after noticing the amount of fish in the lake, son Roger decided to build a cottage so that he could attract people to come, stay, fish and enjoy the great views of Rice Lake. His first guests came from Ohio in 1948, and they certainly must have enjoyed themselves because their friends and family are still coming and staying at Golden Beach 4 generations later! From 1956 when they got married onward, Louise and Roger worked hand in hand together to build and expand the "fishing camp". Roger built many more cottages in the following years, and the old fishermen used to say that every time Louise was pregnant, in order to stay out of the office, he would build 10 more cottages.
Roger quickly became the life force of Golden Beach Cottages, which it was known as in those days. A huge man, both in frame and spirit, he was so strong that he could carry a whole tree out of the woods by himself. Roger Sr. was also very much a people person and tourists came from far and wide to fish at his resort and enjoy his special brand of hospitality. As Roger got older, guests would love to gather at different parts of the day to spend time with him, listen to his stories and just shoot the breeze.
Roger and family are shown here next to a Golden Beach Resort pickup truck.
Golden Beach became, and still is today, very much a family affair. Roger's children grew up learning the importance of a strong work ethic. All were firmly grounded and trained in the running of the camp, and taking part in whatever chores were allotted them. Roger was an extremely dedicated father and husband but everyone knew from an early age that it was "work first, play later".
Following Roger's death in 1984, Louise decided to retire. Telling the girls she had "cleaned more toilets than they ever will" she turned the resort over to her daughters. Soon to become known as "The Golden Girls", today, Kelly and Olga are continuing on the legacy!
Dedicated to Roger Sr.'s vision, the girls continued to develop and add many more facilities and upgrade cottages for the enjoyment of their guests. In 1985 the name was officially changed from Golden Beach Cottages to Golden Beach Resort which better described the broadened facilities and focus on a family recreational resort.
1990 also marked the birth of the idea of the Village of Golden Beach Estates. Following years of frustrating, and agonizing labour and bureaucracy, the girls rezoned 55 acres of land from agriculture to resort commercial. This allowed them to build resort homes in a new land-lease community. In the true essence of Chernuck family support, mother Louise was one of the first purchasers of a home!
Golden Beach Resort started as Roger's dream for his family. Beginning with one little cottage, Golden Beach Resort has grown to become one of the largest resorts on Rice Lake enjoyed by visitors from all over the world.
Edifying Roger and Louise's hard work and sacrifices, Golden Beach Resort continues to grow and expand as the dream for the next generation: Kelly, Olga and their children.