From container to completion

Alberta-based Ladacor Ltd. has developed an innovative way to use shipping containers to build the Days Inn in Sioux Lookout, ON.

Days Inn Sioux Lookout construction from container to completion.

Days Inn Sioux Lookout construction from container to completion.

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SIOUX LOOKOUT, ON—Each year, Canada imports items from China in huge shipping containers. But once the containers are in Canada, it’s uneconomical to ship them back to China empty.

Ladacor Ltd., based in Alberta, has developed an innovative way to use these containers in building the Days Inn in Sioux Lookout, ON.

A first for the Days Inn brand in Canada, the hotel rooms are constructed using prefabricated modular units based on steel shipping containers. The completed design uses 120 containers that were retrofitted into bedrooms, shipped by truck and simply interconnected on site. This 60-room shipping container-based modular hotel is virtually indistinguishable from a conventional site-constructed building.

“It’s suitable for any distant region with a shortage of local labour,” Joe Kiss, president of Calgary-based Ladacor, told CLN. “In many cases, there are seasonal construction challenges due to cold and harsh winters which prevent the use of concrete.

“They’re like Lego-block units,” he added.

Conventional finishings are used for both exterior and interior surfaces. “It’s not a challenge,” said Kiss. “We’re using vinyl siding, stucco, rock…that’s what makes it so flexible.”

He said he doesn’t know of any other Canadian hotels constructed this way, but says that workforce camps use container construction.

Steenhof Building Services Group of Orillia, ON, and Ladacor own the hotel. Stella Gan and Stefani Choy, former owners of Days Inn – Barrie, will be managing it.

“We’ll use our expertise in event facility management, restaurants and hotels—our involvement is in everything from planning to hands-on management,” Gan told CLN. Based in Barrie, ON, Gan and Choy own and operate the Liberty North event facility, two South Street Burger restaurants, and a Motel 6 in Kingston, ON.

Onsite GM Joseph Lamb “is our eyes and ears—he looks after the day-to-day operations,” said Gan. Choy will handle the back-end accounting side of the business, while Gan will deal with sales and marketing.

Sioux Lookout, population 5,000, is located a 3.5-hour drive north of Thunder Bay. A hub for Ontario’s northwest, it has a large regional hospital and attracts lots of government-related travel, plus summer leisure business.

“Americans come for freshwater fishing,” said Gan.

“Stefani and I are thrilled and excited—it’s a new challenge for us.”