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Historic Scand restaurant closure blamed on 'a perfect storm'

The Scandinavian Home Society has decided not to seek a new operator.
Scand restaurant
The Scandinavian Home Society restaurant was founded in 1926 and replaced with a new building in 2004 (Tbnewswatch)

THUNDER BAY — More than 90 years after it established a restaurant on South Algoma Street to serve immigrants, the Scandinavian Home Society is selling the building known throughout Thunder Bay as "the Scand."

The decision comes barely two years after the society decided to lease the restaurant to Shelley Simon, who agreed to continue providing the traditional menu items that customers were used to.

Tbnewswatch was unable to reach Simon for comment, but a spokesperson for the society says she decided to discontinue the operation.

This created a problem for the not-for-profit group, as board member David Heroux said it isn't in a position to resume hands-on running of the business.

"The board does not have the horsepower to turn around a restaurant operation anymore," Heroux said Monday in an interview.

He blamed a combination of circumstances on the demise of the Scand, which opened its doors in 1926.

"There is a changing demographic pattern. A lot of the people who supported the Scand for many years were getting older, not getting out for breakfast or lunch like they used to," Heroux said.

He also feels the restaurant suffered after the Niva family opened their own restaurant a few blocks away, offering a similar menu.

"Just the amount of restaurants in the area, too, had an impact," he said.

Heroux speculated that were other, business-related issues that contributed to the Scand's demise as well.

"It's a combination of everything...It's almost like the perfect storm."

Heroux said the board still hopes a new owner will reopen it as a restaurant, even though the society is forced to cut its own ties to one of Thunder Bay's cultural icons.

"It's quite a legacy...If you look at the original reason for the Scandinavian Home Society, it was to provide comfort and support to the immigrants coming to Canada. Back then it was quite important.'s a different population mix, and they have a lot of their own interests," he said.

 Norman Tempelman of RE/MAX First Choice Realty said a buyer will have a range of options that don't include a restaurant.

Priced at $649,000, he said "it's pretty well open for what it can be used for."


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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