More Canadiana! The inside details on Canoe’s forthcoming make-over
Fourteen years after first opening, Canoe is closing its door to undertake a major renovation starting New Year’s Day. The million-dollar revamp, which partner Michael Bonacini calls “a 30-day extravaganza,” will include top-to-bottom redecoration, Canadiana accents and a fresh menu. “We need to continue to reinvent to keep Canoe pointed true north,” says Bonacini, “and, of course, afloat.”
Having just renewed their 15-year lease on the flagship Oliver and Bonacini spot, the partners felt it was time for a facelift or, as Bonacini puts it, “to come out with a left hook at Canoe.” O&B is working with Ana Cleto Design on a new look: a paint job, hardwood floors, banquettes, a soapstone bar, walnut tabletops and chandeliers are all planned. Flatware, staff uniforms and service areas will also get a make-over. The two private dining rooms will be soundproofed for optimal canoodling and for “serious lawyers who are not in the mood to party,” says Bonacini.
As for the CanCon touches, the new bar will be embellished with a computer numerical cutting (CNC) of the 25 cent coin caribou. Wool carpets will sport designs inspired by pine cones, birch bark and moss. On the elevator landing, a custom entranceway is being created by Vancouver’s Heyday Design from 150 vintage porcelain replicas of the classic beaver-embossed sealer jar. In the main dining room, a raised platform of brass, bronze and copper foil will create an organic moss-like effect, and an image wall will feature a CNC topographical map of Canada by Unit 5.
In the kitchen, chef de cuisine John Horne is looking to make his mark. “He wants to put his stamp on the menu at Canoe. We’ve basically said to John that now is the time to do it.” He and executive chef Anthony Walsh will work to come up with such new and innovative items as “wacky” cheese boards and possibly a fresh fish display—though the staple lobster club will remain. “It’s a rebirth of the place,” Walsh told us last week. “Fifteen years of doing huge business beats the crap out of something.”
The new Canoe is slated to open at the end of January, just in time for Winterlicious. Unfortunately, the renovation will not make getting a table during the city’s food fest any easier.