Laking House and Haliburton Echo return to shared ownership
By Jenn Watt
Published Nov. 28 2017
LenPizzey was coming back to town after some time off when he spotted afor-sale sign on the lawn of the Laking House on Highland Street inHaliburton more than two decades ago.
The building was a privateresidence for many years and had been converted into a commercialspace by Keith Jackson for his real estate company.
Overlooking HeadLake at the centre of the village the house seemed like a good fitfor a newspaper operation said Pizzey who at the time was publisherof the Haliburton County Echo.
“Iasked the staff if they thought it was a good idea that I buy thehouse and we move the newspaper office there” said Pizzey.“Everybody was really enthusiastic about that.”
At the time theEcho was produced from the space beneath the CIBC at the corner ofYork Street and Maple Avenue – what is now Outdoors Plus.
Althoughit was clear the Laking House wouldn’t be big enough for the staffof the newspaper the homey feel of the building and its locationoffered possibilities.
Almost immediately work commenced onexpanding the office with graphic designer Sandi Luck drawing upplans to create a production room and second basement as well as twoadditional office spaces upstairs. The work was done by localcontractor GJ Burtch Construction which maintained the look of thebuilding including extending the verandah.
Pizzey said the newbuilding was good for morale and helped create a team atmosphere. “Atsome times of the year some people spent as much time in the officeworking to produce special publications and deal with the rush ofsummer business as they spent at home” he said. “It had thefeeling of being like another home. It made a huge difference topeople’s enjoyment of coming to work and to people’s ability towork together.”
When Pizzey sold the Echo in 2004 he kept thebuilding leasing it to the new owners.
Now 13 years later thehouse and the business come under the same ownership. White PineMedia which has owned the Echo since 2014 purchased the LakingHouse last week.
“It was the most logical thing and the best futurefor the house in my view was that the Echo and the house become amerged entity. Now the newspaper owns its home” he said.
Echopublisher David Zilstra a member of the White Pine Media ownershipgroup said buying the building solidifies the place of the paper inthe village.
“We’re pleased to have this come full circle underthe ownership of White Pine Media” he said. “We’re going tocontinue on with the proud legacy of the Echo in the community.”
The sale coincides with the building’s 100th anniversary.