Music will continue under new Waverley Hotel owner in Cumberland

The Waverley Hotel has a new owner, but pub patrons and music lovers can rest assured the atmosphere and entertainment scene at the Cumberland landmark will remain as is.

DON McCLELLAN

DON McCLELLAN

The Waverley Hotel has a new owner, but pub patrons and music lovers can rest assured the atmosphere and entertainment scene at the Cumberland landmark will remain as is.

Don McClellan, owner of Ashbury Farms on Royston Road, has purchased the establishment from Harvey Brown, a former Cumberland mayor who, along with wife Shannon, operated The Wave for the past 27 years.

“It’s got a certain character being a 100-year-old building. I think the original hotel was built in the 1890s,” said McClellan, who credits Harvey for transforming the hotel into a pub with quality food and music. The pub will soon feature a new menu.

“Under him the last five years or so, the music scene has become a big part of the Waverley,” said McLellan.

And will continue as such, he added, noting musicians are often lodged at the premises.

Hotel rooms could again reopen to the public if an opportunity presents itself, but for now McClellan will “concentrate on learning the business and trying to keep it operating as well as Harvey had it going.”

Way back when the hotel was a narrow, three-storey temperance boarding house, with miners upstairs and a dining hall downstairs. It was attached to Cheap John’s Store and Searle’s Shoes, now located in downtown Courtenay. The three buildings “eventually all got married over a hundred-year period,” Harvey said.

“It’s never really operated as a full-service hotel. When we first bought it, it was affectionately known as the Hug ‘n Slug. They used to come in at 7 o’clock huggin’ and by 11 o’clock they were sluggin’.”

Harvey was the local Esso agent when he first moved to the Valley, thus the name Brown Fuels Unlimited. He served for several years on Cumberland council in the 1980s and was mayor for about five years until the mid-’90s.

Though Shannon has held a separate job the past few years, Harvey said “she was there shoulder-to-shoulder the first 15 years or so” at the Waverley.

“When I first went there I was afraid of it but I know it so intimately now because I’ve replaced most of the pipes and redone the electrical and put new roofs on and heating systems,” he said. “Just all kinds of alterations.”

Harvey also built a liquor store, named after his late friend Dwain, who helped construct it.

Since selling the building, Harvey has spent a great deal of time showing McClellan the ropes.

“Certainly there’s maintenance upkeep on the building but no overhaul renovation required at all,” McClellan said.

“I figured he might as well have the best of everything,” Harvey said. “I’m really pleased that Don has bought it because he appreciates that. It certainly sounds like he’s going to carry on in the same vein.”

Harvey plans to spend his retirement fishing and boating on the West Coast.

And dropping by the old haunt from time to time.

“It’s a constant thing,” he said of the business. “There’s 21 employees, so you have all those things to deal with. But it’s also fun. It’s a good place.”

Karen Webber will continue as bar manager.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com