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The former Kennedy Inn on Water Street in Saint Andrews has been sold. It's now known as Kennedy House and undergoing renovations. Image: Submitted by Dominique Berlenger

Saint Andrews Landmark Finds New Owners

By Tamara Steele Nov 8, 2022 | 2:30 PM

An unexpected trip to Saint Andrews in 2014 led a Belgium couple to a new life in Canada.

Dominique and Mieke Berlenger are the new owners of Kennedy House on Water Street.

Dominique said on that first trip, they Googled what to do in Saint Andrews and did all of it.

“We did see whales, we did stay at the Algonquin, we walked Water Street numerous times up and down and we fell in love with the area,” he said.

They kept visiting the area and bought some land in nearby Bayside in 2018.

“One thing led to another, we started getting in touch with people, learning the lay of the land. [Saint Andrews is] very tourist-driven. Winters are pretty harsh and it’s obviously very seasonal,” Dominique said.

“Housing back then was already a big issue for temporary workers and for people to have a home. The biggest challenge and one of the learning curves for me is to really understand a different way of getting through the year than it was in Belgium for us,” Dominique said.

The Berlengers and their two children began the immigration process in 2019 using the provincial nominee program so they could stay in the province and be in the Saint Andrews area. The process was completed this summer.

They spoke with the current owners of Kennedy Inn last December for a second time. He wanted to have the property for the 2022 tourism season.

“He went through two difficult COVID years which we understood,” Dominique said.

Mieke and Dominique Berlenger are the new owners of Kennedy House in Saint Andrews.
Image from Facebook.

Renovations on the 141-year-old building are underway on the ground floor.

“It needs the most attention because it defines the whole identity of the building in what we offer, in how guests will receive, what we want to resonate. It all happens downstairs. That means the restaurant, the bar, the dining areas, the patio and the entertainment is all going to change or at least be renovated,” he said.

He said they want to open up the space and add light.

“It’s a journey. You have to scratch through all the layers of the past 140 years. They started removing the carpets and discovered the original tile is actually still here. It’s absolutely beautiful,” Dominique said.

He said they want their guests and the people of Saint Andrews to see it as he feels many may not remember or even know that floor is still here.

“It gives you a good feeling not only as an owner but I am really intrigued by the history this building has,” Dominique said.

The Berlengers said they want to bring back the era of the original owners, Angus Kennedy and his son, Frank.

“It’s one of the eras that we can really tell a story about,” he said.


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