By Jake Davies
West Carleton Online
FITZROY HARBOUR – After years of presenting on the road, Fitzroy Harbour author and presenter Syd Gravel knows what he wants in a meeting room.
So, Syd and his wife Judy went to work on their vacant property and have turned the former Penny’s Fudge Factory building in to The Olde Meeting Room.
Syd, who is also a retired police officer, felt all the cards were lining up. While the Gravel’s were former owners of the fudge factory, they had sold the business off some time ago while retaining possession of the building. The new owners moved the Fudge Factory to Pakenham last year, Syd saw a need for a meeting house and training centre and put his experience to work.
“We that as an opportunity to bring that sort of activity here,” Syd told West Carleton Online from the comfy confines of The Old Meeting House’s fully accessible kitchen.
The facilities which works perfectly for groups from six to 30, also include a board room with comfortable seating for 30, with wireless video hook up, a whiteboard, podium and anything else needed for award-winning presentations.
Syd has spent many years leading presentations himself. He is the author of 56 Seconds, How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support and has co-authored Walk the Talk. Syd has led presentations on Peer and Trauma Support across the country. He wanted a place where he could lead presentations and workshops closer to home and soon learned there was a need for such a facility in west Ottawa. All that experience went in to the design of The Olde Meeting Room.
“I like to have a place where you can break out and relax,” Syd said “When I do presentations, I don’t like a lot of white noise. So, we’ve made our HVAC unit very quiet. We have dampened the noise where ever we could. Everything we’ve done here is a result of my experience as a speaker and presenter. I’ve never presented at home, but this isn’t a place for me. It’s knowing what I like and offering it to the community.”
While the Gravels don’t provide catering they have partnered with two local spots that can. Harbour Pizza and Sandy’s Country Kitchen are happy to provide a variety of meals.
“We gave them two local options with businesses we think have wonderful people,” Syd said.
Syd and Judy started renovating the 755 square foot building last October.
“We want to stress the privacy,” Judy said. “That’s why we only host one event at a time.”
The facility has Wi-Fi, can accommodate service animals, has an outdoor gazebo located in a beautifully landscaped garden with a propane fire pit and many other accommodations to ensure your stay is comfortable, private and productive.
For more information on the facility, visit theoldemeetinghouse.ca.