Kevin & Jennifer Lavers came to Picton in 2001. Both fell in love with the area and were married the same year. Kevin, being an avid fisherman, had always dreamed of owning and operating a resort on the water and spending his days doing fishing charters. He and his business and fishing partner, Michael, had been in the market looking for the perfect place. After quite a few months of searching, they landed at Merland Park.
Not long after taking ownership, the resort started taking a different direction. In 2002, 4 new Viceroy Cottages were built, new docks were added and extensive renovations were done to the older cottages and the grounds. In the same year, 9 motor boats, kayaks and canoes were purchased and made available for renting.
Then, sadly, in 2003 Michael passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Kevin and Jennifer continue to work diligently to ensure Michael’s dream stays alive and his spirit lives on in the park. You may even feel his great energy in one of their largest cottages, fittingly named- Mikey Big Fish.
Merland Park Cottages is open year round and all of the cottages are open until the last week of November to accommodate angler’s world-wide looking for that trophy Walleye.
Kevin & Jennifer and the staff at Merland Park are continuously upgrading the older cottages, some of which were built as early as 1920, with new roofs, furniture, flooring and windows in order to modernize them.
In 2008, the in-ground swimming pool was re-modeled with new lining and interlocking patio stone. In 2010, a large Merland Park Bouncing Castle was set up on the property for all the kids to enjoy. At the end of the 2010 season, cottages were painted on the interior; supplied with new kitchen ware, shower curtain rods, flat-screen televisions, lamps, clocks and mirrors. In the spring of 2011, the park was set up for free Wi-Fi connections and security cameras were installed.
In the summer of 2011, another fishing boat was added to the fleet of rentals and Merland Park had to tear down cottage #4 because a large mature tree was uprooted from a violent wind storm and came smashing down on the cottage. A new, 3 bedroom, winterized cottage has been built in its place.
In the summer of 2013, the in ground swimming pool was converted to salt water and in the spring of 2015, the boat launch was completely redone and the three motel units underwent major renovations with new insulation and tongue & groove walls, new floors, new paint and new décor! In the fall of 2015, cottage #5 and cottage #10 had their exteriors re-faced with siding. In the spring of 2016, cottages #3, #8, #5 and #12 all got new flooring installed in the bedrooms. Cottage #8 had a new roof put on and the bedrooms got new dry walled ceilings and walls and Cottage #7 had a beautiful new picture window put in! Cottage #10 had renovations done to both bedrooms with new drywall, paint and lighting and Cottage #7 also got new walls, paint and décor.
In the fall of 2017, the Motel had new shingles installed on the roof and several new barbecues were purchased for the cottages. In Spring 2018, Cottage #12 had a new pedestal sink and backsplash put in the bathroom. Also in May, both bedrooms in Cottage #5 were given a fresh new look with paint, bedding, furniture & décor. Cottage #1 was re-painted inside and most of the exterior decks were given a fresh coat of paint for the season. In January 2019, new flooring was installed in the office as well as cottages #2,#12,#8, #5 and motel #14 and then in February new bathtub inserts were put in the bathrooms of Muskie Mansion, Mikey Big Fish & Laker Lodge. In 2020, Mikey Big Fish & Pickerel Palace got new backsplash installed in the kitchens and interior walls were given a fresh color and coat of paint. Laker Lodge got a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling & cottage #5 and the 2 bedroom motel had the tongue & groove walls painted white! Cottage #12 got new blinds & cottage #3 got a new AC/heat unit! In 2021 & 2022, 7 cottages got new composite decking and some of the decks were enlarged. Cottage #3 got a whole new bathroom, and cottage #7 solarium was taken down and a new deck built! We put in a new rock retaining wall by Laker Lodge, had some patterned concrete poured for pathways to cottages, cottage #12 deck and around our firepit area.
Kevin & Jennifer have both been extremely grateful for the path their lives have taken – from the busy city streets – working downtown Toronto to the peaceful, charming life of the country where they have had the opportunity to meet delightful people from all over the world and welcome them into their home – Merland Park. They hope your stay with them brings you many wonderful and lasting memories.