Fox Harb’r, Nova Scotia’s classy resort


Fox Harb'r - 17th hole

Fox Harb'r - 17th hole

My first encounter with Ron Joyce, a Nova Scotian and co-founder of the Tim Horton’s coffee empire, was back in the late 90s during the construction of his Fox Harb’r resort on the shores of the Northumberland Strait. I had arrived in my little purple Ford Ranger pickup and was tailed all the way up the driveway by the property’s security man.

I told the nice polite security guy that I was there to see Mr. Joyce for an interview. I was informed he would be along shortly. Lo and behold a black Lincoln came bouncing across a dirt compound toward the clubhouse which was under construction. A big burly man popped out and introduced himself. Mr. Joyce invited me to join him and Graham Cooke, designer of the golf course, to freewheel around the 1,100 acre property on ATVs while he told me of his plans for the resort not far from where he grew up in the village of Tatamagouche.

It all sounded very grandiose and very expensive. I got a chance to play the course a time or two after it opened in 2000. Cooke had done a marvelous job and the course was named Best New Canadian Course in 2001 by Golf Digest.

I recently went back to Fox Harb’r to see how things have developed and I must admit I was impressed. I have had the good fortune of playing at many fine golf resorts in several countries and Fox Harb’r doesn’t have to take a backseat to any of them.

The golf course, which is fused over by a crew of about 40 people, is over 7,200 yards from the back tees. It is spread over 250 acres and attention has been paid to the smallest detail of the course. The front nine moves away from the shoreline while the back nine is routed along the coast. It has a links feel and the views of the ocean are spectacular. The course record, by the way, was set in 2009 by a guy named Tiger Woods. He shot a 63 during a private Nike event held at the resort.

Director of golf Elliott Isenor says the course is getting busier all the time although I won’t say 7,000 rounds a year is that busy.

Isenor is excited about the fact Fox Harb’r will have its own golf academy in 2011 and my guess is if it is anything like the rest of the resort it will be first class.

The clubhouse, with its marble floors, rich dark woods and granite, spiral staircase connecting the two levels, has all the fine trappings of an exclusive country club. Large windows give those enjoying some fine dining or a drink after a round a view the exterior stone decks, the course and the ocean.

There is an extensive spa and conference centre with a junior sized Olympic swimming pool, next door to the clubhouse. The building caters to meetings and banquets and of course you can get all the relaxing spa treatments one would expect at an exclusive facility.

There is also a sporting lodge on the property if you like to shoot. The resort raises its own game birds to hunt plus there are some dogs as well. Mike Clark looks after this operation and does a fine job

There is a full service marina, a full service airstrip and of course lots of very comfortable accommodation in suites and townhouses that overlook the golf course and ocean.

As you may expect a stay at Fox Harb’r will set you back a few bucks but once in awhile a little pampering never hurts. Check it out…

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Tom Peters

Tom Peters is a freelance writer based in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, a suburb of Halifax. In December 2009 he retired after 41 years with The Halifax Chronicle Herald. He covered competitive golf regionally for the paper in his early days as reporter and over the years has freelanced golf travel articles to a number of major golf and business publications. He is a member and a director of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada.

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