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Det’on Cho buys YK hotel, will move Vital Abel boarding home

Yellowknife's Old Town is seen from the Summit lookout in February 2021
Yellowknife's Slave Lake Inn, let, is seen from the Summit lookout in February 2021. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

Yellowknife’s Slave Lake Inn has been bought by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s economic development arm and will become the new home of what is currently the Vital Abel boarding facility.

Vital Abel, in Ndilǫ, provides accommodation and meals for people from NWT communities who need assistance while on medical travel. It has 19 rooms and a capacity of around 70 people, including patients and their escorts.

On Wednesday, Det’on Cho Management said it had purchased the Slave Lake Inn’s 4105 Franklin Avenue building, which had been operating as a 31-unit hotel, and would begin converting it into a new space for the boarding home. The cost of the purchase was not made public.

“Covid-19 has demonstrated the need to think differently about how we provide services,” said Clayton Thompson, general manager of Det’on Cho’s hospitality group, in a news release. “We are excited to make a major infrastructure investment that will improve our clients’ comfort and safety.”



Operated by the Nova Group of Companies, the Slave Lake Inn only opened at the start of 2020 and found itself almost immediately in an environment devoid of tourists as the pandemic hit.

Paul Gruner, Det’on Cho’s president and chief executive, said the acquisition was the group’s first fully owned commercial building outside Ndilǫ.

“Det’on Cho’s current medical travel facility in Ndilǫ will be repurposed for community housing, resulting in 11 apartment units for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation,” Wednesday’s news release stated.

The Slave Lake Inn’s name was not universally welcomed when the hotel opened. Det’on Cho said a new name for the building, “representative of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation,” would be chosen.

No timeline was given for the transformation of the hotel into the new boarding home.