Hospitality at the Argyle Manor Bed and Breakfast in Windsor
Quite frequently business travelers will also stay for extended periods at Argyle Manor. Windsor, due to its location right next to Detroit, is a big automotive manufacturing centre, and many business travelers come into town for professional reasons. One time a couple from Minnesota stayed with the Thomas’ for five months. The husband was a millwright working in the automotive industry and was here to install robots. His wife helped Kerri decorate the house, and the two couples are still in touch. Sometimes guests turn into friends in a bed and breakfast.
Inukshuk at the Windsor waterfront
Another celebrity, an artist by the name of Blake Richardson, also stayed at Argyle Manor B&B. Dr. Thomas explained that he is the type of artist who sees hidden objects in everyday images. To demonstrate this he showed me a calendar by the artist entitled “Images found in nature”. Dozens of hidden objects were painted on an image of Niagara Falls, all hidden images that the artist had seen in the seemingly random patterns of the waterfall.
Origami art at the Argyle Manor Bed & Breakfast
One time a European couple, the husband was from Germany and his wife from Poland, stayed at Argyle Manor, and neither one of them spoke good English. As a result, the conversations were very limited. But apparently these European travelers liked their abode since the couple stayed for nine days. Due to language restrictions, the interaction was essentially restricted to “thank you – bye bye”. Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.
Of course, running a bed and breakfast is no easy task. Especially when you buy an empty church rectory that still needs to be converted into a functional hospitality establishment. Dr. Thomas explained that even getting insurance for his building was initially a tough challenge. The old house still had outdated knob and tube wiring and galvanized plumbing. The insurance company would not cover the property until the knob and tube wiring was replaced.
The Argyle Manor Bed and Breakfast
Severing the rectory building from the rest of the church property was another ordeal that took three to four months. Add to that three to four more months for rezoning to make it an official bed and breakfast property. The Thomas’ have a good friend, Wayne Strong, the owner of the nearby Ye Olde Walkerville Bed and Breakfast, who was already running a bed and breakfast in Windsor and provided extremely helpful advice to the couple.
The fire code required that the entire property be hardwired with a smoke alarm. Some of the building regulations contradicted one another, causing additional delays in sorting them out. The back stairway needed to be a second exit, otherwise the couple would have had to install special metal self-closing doors. One of the rooms by the back stairway is not allowed to have any furniture in it for fire safety reasons. Dr. Paul and Kerri Thomas had to deal with a lot of red tape to get this property converted into a bed and breakfast.
Sculpture at the Windsor waterfront
Now that I knew more about the property I also wanted to find out more about my hosts. I learned that Dr. Paul Thomas was a professor and basketball coach at the University of Saskatchewan, San Fernando Valley State College in California, and the University of Windsor. He also coached Canada’s basketball team at the Olympic Games and the World University Games, and is in several Halls of Fame. As an expert in human kinetics and ergonomics, Dr. Thomas offered consulting services for many years to large corporate clients such as General Motors and General Electric to implement more ergonomic work processes. For a time he also had his own sports medicine clinic.
Dr. Paul and Kerri Thomas
Although he is officially retired, Dr. Thomas is now the athletic director at a private school. He still coaches basketball and also coached Canada’s Olympic basketball team. His daughter Misty is also an Olympian, having played on Canada’s Olympic Team in the Los Angeles Olympics. Now, because of countless knee surgeries, she is eligible to play wheelchair basketball and is on Canada’s national team and played in the Bejing Olympics. Misty is the first athlete to have played in the regular olympics and the para-olympics.
Walkerville Collegiate Institute – just steps from Argyle Manor B&B