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New Owners Give The Canim Lake Resort & Campsite A Massive Upgrade

Nestled into a forested point on a sandy Canim Lake beach, you will find South Point Resort. This resort, previously known as the Ponderosa Resort, has been a Cariboo staple for 45 years. Karin and Wolfgang Martens retired and sold the resort to Leanne and Kevin (Bear) Sallenback. The Sallenbacks are a young, energetic couple with plans to modernize the resort. Bear’s parents had a family cabin on Canim Lake where he spent every summer and Leanne had visited the area for about 13 years quickly falling in love with the Cariboo and Canim Lake.

When they started to examine the quality of their lives in the Lower Mainland, they quickly realized they were working to pay a mortgage for a house they didn’t love, paying for vehicles they didn’t need and ending up with very little time to actually get out and enjoy life. Leanne has a BA in Business Administration, where she focused on Marketing and has also spent time working in both tourism and corporate environments. Bear is the ultimate handyman who has spent his life building and renovating. They believe theirs is the perfect combination for creating an exciting resort business.

“The Cariboo is really an outdoor mecca for adventure seekers. 100 Mile is not just a drive through town – if you step off the highway, there are endless trails to explore, lakes to fish, shops to peruse, paths to ride, and mountains to conquer. We love it.”

Leanne sat down and answered some questions for me. The first thing I noticed is that Leanne is definitely an enthusiastic “Caribooster”. Leanne’s favourite things to do at the resort are evening bonfires and getting on a wake-board or Hobie-board! Her least favourite – raking in the spring! They are looking forward to getting their ice fishing hut and enjoying the winter.

South Cariboo Campsite And Resort Near 100 Mile House

An energetic young couple, they have ambitious plans for their resort and have already begun to make some changes. Along with their canine companions, Ryker and Roxy, they have enthusiastically engaged with many people in the community and are building up a positive reputation as being community minded with a fresh perspective for the Cariboo. “We’ve only been here six months, but have already done a ton of work and have lots of plans for this place.” said Leanne. They brought in about 20 truck loads of gravel to level out some of the RV sites to reduce the amount of mud and potholes in the area. They’ve taken out a lot of danger trees throughout the property and opened up some additional spaces. A new pontoon boat was also purchased for guests to enjoy. They are currently in the process of updating the condos (interior and exterior) and, over the next couple of years, plan to give them a more modern look. They are also creating different landscapes on their acreage to create a variety of settings for wedding ceremonies, family reunions, and more. Next on their list, hopefully by next summer, they hope to have a new playground for children. Leanne stated, “We have lots of ideas on our wish list of things we want to do in order to continually improve the guest experience at our resort.” They are also building and utilizing great partnerships in the area and enjoy working with local business people to build a stronger local economy.

Cariboo Fishing Boat Rentals & Kayak Rentals

Knowing that the environment is a priority for many of their guests, Sallenbacks have also added Hobie Mirage Stand up Peddle Boards to the Lake Standard of kayaks, boats and lots of water toys. The Paddle Boards, kayaks and canoes are a great eco-way to get around the lake. Conscious of the need to manage the resort’s waste, they have implemented recycling bins and have reduced the plastic present in the amenities they provide guests.

Winter view of Canim Lake Falls.

The Salllenbacks recognize how, especially for the GenXers and Millennials, digital/social media has become an integral part of today’s culture. If people want to attract this generation, they need to approach them on their terms, which means being internet savvy. As a result, they engage with the public on several social media connections including:

  • Website (https://southpointresort.ca);
  • Blog (https://canimcaribooster.wordpress.com);
  • Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/southpointcanim);
  • Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/southpointcanim/ );
  • Twitter (https://twitter.com/southpointcanim); and
  • LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/south-point-resort/about/?viewAsMember=true) .
Birdseye view of the South Point Resort on the shore of Canim Lake, British Columbia.
Panoramic view showing RV campsites.

The Next Hot Cariboo Wedding Venue

They picture South Point Resort as a “destination event” resort. Being a “destination event resort”, means developing a variety of experiences for their guests. People nowadays are looking, not only for a cabin on a lake, but they are prioritizing according to the activities and seeking unique experiences. It is no longer only the destination that draws people in, but the experiences they will have once they arrive. Resorts, and the tourism sector in general, have started creating these experiences. This means weddings, reunions, year-round seasonal events, classes, hikes, Canim Lake Falls and more. Wanting to bring a new vibe to the resort, they have offered classes like sign painting and events, like a Halloween ghost hunt and fire works weekend. These events attract not only folks from outside the Cariboo, but also people who live nearby. At this time, 90% of their guests happen to come from BC, and 10% are from Europe. Locals also seem to like the experience getaway, even if it is only for couple of hours at a sign-painting class while they enjoy a breathtaking view of Canim Lake. In addition to providing for family vacations, they are creating custom packages for curious folks looking to experience something new and unique.

Cabin Rentals Near 100 Mile House

Another example of what makes South Point Resort unique is the mix of accommodations: condominiums, cabins, RV and camping sites. The diversity of options makes the South Point appealing for large events, like a family reunion, because they have options for all of the guests. Guests will have a choice of places to stay, right on site, and avoid the complexities of finding hotel rooms in town. Additionally, they are positioning themselves as providing year-round accommodations and activities on Canim Lake. At this time, South Point is the only Canim Lake resort open all year. They will be offering winter discounts, targeting snowmobilers, Christmas and New Years packages, ice-fishing packages in February, and more.

They are now actively reaching out to the wedding market and promoting year-round weddings. For example, their Spirits & Ales Halloween Weekend (Oct. 25, 26 & 27) is set up for those who want to get away for the weekend and for locals who are looking for something fun to do for a day or in the evening. People can reserve a room or campsite for the weekend and take in the activities on Saturday evening (Oct. 26th) which include a ghost hunt, hot cocoa and fireworks! Folks can also sign up to attend the ghost hunt and/or come out for the hot chocolate and fireworks later in the evening. This is the kind of experience and flexibility that allows folks from near and far to join in. Keep an eye on their Facebook page because they have a lot of events planned for the coming year. They will release a full calendar of events in January. After the Halloween weekend events are done, they’ll be announcing Christmas and New Years specials, and perhaps some winter sign-making classes.

Enjoying a hike on a frozen Canim Lake.

“South Point Resort was a dream for my husband and me, and we want to turn it into something special. We have a five year plan and are going to invest the money we make back into the resort. We want South Point to be thought of as a great place to visit, no matter what the season. We will always have activities and events to bring people to Canim Lake.” said an enthusiastic Leanne.

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