Shore Staff Team

At Your Service

As a Scott Lake guest you are outnumbered: not including our guest service staff based in Rhinelander and Saskatoon, the staff/customer ratio on the island is better than 1:1.  You will not be unattended.  Every member of the shore staff team share the same goal, to ensure that your visit to Scott is the trip of a lifetime.

Each day, long before most guests wake up, the Scott Lake shore staff have been hard at work, readying the dining room for breakfast, squeezing fresh juices and prepping coffee pots for cabin delivery.The housekeeping team springs into action as the boats depart the docks, scrubbing, tidying and folding until late afternoon. The bartender, given some necessary provisions for beauty rest after a late bar shutdown, begins the day with a thorough lodge cleaning, setting dining room tables for dinner and, of course, restocking the bar. Maintenance crew are tending generators, satellite dishes and plumbing chores all before the first lure hits the water and well after the nightly photo gallery goes dark.

Congratulations on one of the finest staffs in the hospitality business. If you improve anything else nobody will ever leave.

Brad Buchanan

Jason Hamilton

Jason Hamilton

General Manager

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Every organization needs a leader and that role has been splendidly filled by Jason Hamilton. In his fifth season at Scott Lake Lodge, Jason is the person who makes things happen around here. Jason spent many years at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and still gets back there to fish for steelhead every spring, but his home now, like a few other Scott Lakers, is the small Saskatchewan town of White Fox. His life has always revolved around hunting and fishing and from his home in White Fox he can watch moose, elk, whitetails and even wolves from his back window. He is also close to his beloved Tobin Lake where huge walleye and pike can be pulled through the ice if one knows how. Jason does. His knowledge of wildlife is more than casual. He has a master’s degree from the University of Waterloo in Animal Physiology. He spent seven years working for the Ontario Department of Natural Resources and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. His work there primarily involved tagging marine mammals, as in polar bears, whales and walrus. Jason may be the only person in the world who has given a right hook to the face of a polar bear as it shook off the effects of a tranquilizer a bit too quickly. Both the bear and Jason came out of that battle in one piece.

Danielle Grunberg

Danielle Grunberg

Assistant Manager

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This is Dani’s eighth season at Scott Lake Lodge, and she has a new role. After setting the standards for hospitality for so many years, she is now joining Jason Hamilton in the office as the Assistant Manager. She will be overseeing the kitchen and hospitality staffs and will be handling a lot of the office work. She will still have the keen eye to spot the smallest details; she always gets things right long before customers ever notice a problem. A native of Whitby, Ontario, near Toronto, Dani has migrated West with her love for the outdoors. She attended the University of Guelph and has just completed a certificate in Holistic Nutrition. Dani has traveled often, volunteering in places like Nicaragua, Ecuador and Peru. Her travels have also taken her to New Zealand, where she worked at an EcoLodge in the rain forest as well as Indonesia, Alaska, Mexico and many more countries.

Mason Merz

Mason Merz

Maintenance Manager

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Mason has filled some very big shoes. For many years Gerry Yanish was the man on the job to keep the sprawling infrastructure of Scott Lake Lodge in running order. Gerry hung up his tool belt in 2017 and Mason has taken on the challenge. If you’re one of our regulars, you probably saw him running (literally) around the island with a small notepad in hand. Mason is wonderfully organized. With a degree from Sault Ste. Marie College in civil engineering, he has some solid background to handle this demanding job.

After spending years dealing with real roads, maintaining the spruce-chip trail system at Scott is child’s play. Since fishing has been his #1 hobby for many years, Mason feels very much at home on an island surrounded by fish. Two years ago, he felt the pull of the north and responded to Jason Hamilton’s recruiting pitch, promising an office 30-feet from the lake. After spending 2017 in the office learning our operations, he took on the Maintenance Manager role last season loved the challenge. In 2019 there will be some serious fishing time for Mason—he’s earned it. Besides fishing, Mason loves hunting, snowboarding, photography and coaching soccer. Mason lives in the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario very close to the St. Mary’s River where he spends a lot of his free time.

Rachel Basler

Rachel Basler

Sous Chef

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In her fourth season at Scott, Rachael knows her way around kitchens. Her culinary training began with a two-year program at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario, her hometown. From there, she worked at a classy golf resort in Muskoka, Ontario in that province’s storied lake country. She has travelled throughout Central and South America in the last few years, improving her Spanish and taste for a variety of food. She now lives off-season in Victoria, British Columbia where she takes classes at an art school there. Landscape oil painting is her current artistic interest and there is lots of opportunity to find subject matter around Scott Lake. Since she has never lived far from water, she enjoys life on an island where water is never more than a hundred yards away.

Riley Epp

Riley Epp

GQD (Beaver) Captain

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Growing up in the small community of Meadow Lakes, Saskatchewan, about three hours north of Saskatoon, Riley dreamed of doing what he’s doing now—flying bush planes. Riley jumped right into pilot training after high school. He did his pilot training at Loydminster, Alberta. As with all new pilots, he did his penance by working a year with Transwest Air in LaRonge as a “rampie”, the guy who loads and unloads planes, puts fuel in them and wonders if he will ever fly one. As captain of our Beaver, he doesn’t wonder anymore—he flies. He just loves flying and intends to stay with floats as his long-term career. Last season Riley learned all the flyout routes and this year intends to spend a bit more time sampling the fishing.

Clover Fedoriuk-Russell

Clover Fedoriuk-Russell

Hospitality Team

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A brand-new face joining the hospitality team, coming from the West Coast of British Columbia, is Clover. Clover comes from a very familiar family, as she is our sous chef, Eli Mahoney’s sister. Clover grew up salmon fishing and jigging throughout the gulf islands with their Dad. She recently tried fly fishing and as many can relate to, fell in love with it. Clover fits right in with the travelling bunch, sharing stories with the rest of the worldly Shore Staff. She is used to the small “town” living, having lived in Tofino, a small community on the northwest side of Vancouver Island. There she has taken big interests in photography, surfing, hiking and ocean life. The fish are a little different at Scott Lake, but it won’t be a surprise to see Clover taking one of the canoes, checking out Tundra beach or throwing a fly!

Amelia Gunn

Amelia Gunn

Hospitality Team

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You might recognize this friendly face from the 2016 season. Amelia is coming back to the join the team once again. Amelia grew up with Brenna, participating alongside her in competitive trampoline. (Ask them to tell the story of Amelia’s elbow). Amelia went to university in Guelph, Ontario where she studied Commerce and to no surprise, Hospitality and Tourism. Amelia is no stranger to the serving world. She has been working at fine dining restaurants in the winters, travelling in between and pursuing her musical passions. Her singing voice matches her personality, sweet and harmonious. Amelia lived in the Canadian Rocky Mountains for five years and most recently, enjoying the contrast of her close-to-home city of Toronto. The Scott Lake crew warmly welcomes this gem back.

Heather Haine

Heather Haine

Massage Therapist

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This is Heather’s first season at the lodge and she is a perfect fit to be joining the crew. Heather has worked at heli/cat ski lodges for the past three years and is getting the back-to-back seasonal life, like many of her colleagues at Scott. Heather met Claire Markle in the mountains, where they could be found snowboarding in deep Canadian snow powder. Being born and raised in the mountains of south-east British Columbia, it is no surprise that she loves the outdoors. Heather has spent most of her adult life adventuring all over the world. Most recently, she has returned from a trip to Panama where she spent her days surfing, sunset watching and coconut drinking. She attended Vancouver School of Bodywork & Massage in 2013 and has been practicing as a massage therapist ever since. Heather comes highly recommended and is apt to make the Stone Haven Spa comfortable and welcoming. Her experience, along with a touch of aromatherapy, will be a treat this season at Scott.

Ross Kennedy

Ross Kennedy

Sous Chef

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Another Ontarian, Ross Kennedy, is in his second year taking part in the kitchen team. Ross is traded the spectacular mountain views of the Banff area for the more horizontal lake views of the Saskatchewan/Northwest Territories Border Country. He also traded the kitchen infrastructure of the Banff Springs Hotel, built to handle 750 diners, for a kitchen where four chefs fill it right up. Ross is ready for anything. His culinary training is extensive: a year in Waterloo, Ontario and a three-year apprenticeship in Calgary that earned him his Red Seal Certification, the highest level in Canada. Ross loves his hobbies (golf, hiking and snowboarding) but his first love is cooking. Ross can handle any type of cooking, but Italian is his favorite, though a recent trip to Pakistan opened his eyes (and we assume his taste buds) to more exotic flavors. One thing is certain: whatever comes out of his oven is always good.

Eli Mahoney

Eli Mahoney

Sous Chef

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Eli has gone from one island, Vancouver, to a smaller one (just 12-acres), here in the middle of Scott Lake for his third season. The kitchen here is a bit smaller too. His most recent place of employment, Milestones in Victoria, British Columbia, had seating for a 300-seat food emporium in Victoria. He worked there for seven years, but really likes the 60-seat operation here at Scott. He also worked for five years as a cook and then assistant manager at another Victoria restaurant specializing in Greek cuisine. He is comfortable with the seven-day routine at Scott: it’s part of the cooking life. Eli knows that the free afternoons at Scott can be heavenly. You can find him hiking and swimming (he does know about the water temps at Scott) and last season started to get into fishing. There will be lots of cooking and plenty of fishing this season

Claire Markle

Claire Markle

Hospitality Team

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Claire is in her third season at Scott. This is the only time of year she is in one place for very long, having acquired a severe case of the travel bug. She has spent the last several years on the move, including a full year in Europe where she worked on an organic farm in France. She also has tasted life in northern lodges with three seasons at Plummer’s lodges, working at Great Bear and Great Slave lodges, making Scott Lake the deep south from her perspective. Snowboarding has been a passion along with horseback riding, but her long running interests have focused on art. She studied art for two years at the Alberta College of Art and Design and two more years at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, earning a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts.

Travis Peckham

Travis Peckham

HPE (Otter) Captain

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Travis is a pilot’s pilot, born to fly. Flying with Travis gives one the impression that he really could fly that single turbo Otter in his sleep—every movement is just so natural. Travis did his pilot training in his hometown of Lethbridge, Alberta. He joined Transwest Air and started in LaRonge as a co-pilot on a King Air but quickly jumped in the right seat of a Twin Otter as co-pilot. Then he took over the left seat in a Cessna 185. He liked that left seat a lot and soon was captain of a Twin Otter which he flew for four years before becoming the captain of the single-engine Turbo Otter, the plane he really loves, for eight years. This is the fifth season that Travis has taken Scott guests to distant flyouts.

Nigel Rivera

Nigel Rivera

Head Chef

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Nigel is coming back for a second season in his Head Chef’s Top Hat. This makes Nigel a five-year veteran in our kitchen and will continue to showcase his creativity and consistency. Nigel will have grill and the smoker fired up, serving good ol’ traditional fishing lodge options, meats to perfection and adding an Asian flair. Born in a small town in the Philippines, Nigel came to Toronto to join his parents there when he was twenty and Toronto has been his home base ever since. Kitchens anywhere are his home base too. After completing culinary training at George Brown College for Culinary Arts, one of the most distinguished culinary programs in Canada, he began plying his trade in Toronto restaurants, including the well-respected Gilead Café and Momofuku. After dealing with the size of the 30,000-student college and the traffic of Toronto, Nigel was ready for the light traffic on the spruce-chipped trails of Scott Lake Lodge. He has found his cooking home. Besides cooking, Nigel loves music—he’s generally in charge of the kitchen ambience—and travel. He goes back to the Philippines when he can and made his way back to Southeast Asia this past winter. He did a stint in Melbourne, Australia where he of course had a job in a restaurant there. His favorite foods, on a personal level, are Thai street foods and any Japanese cooking. If you hear some big laughs coming from the kitchen door, it’s probably Nigel. He is the Leader of Laughs there.

Brenna Savery

Brenna Savery

Hospitality Team

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Another Whitby, Ontario native, Brenna and Dani Grunberg were childhood friends. So, it’s not surprising that Dani recruited Brenna to join the Scott Lake team five seasons ago. Brenna is not hard to spot around here: she’s the one who is always smiling. If we ever had a smiling contest at the lodge, all the smart money would be betting on Brenna. She attended Seneca College in the Toronto area, gaining a diploma in Recreation and Leisure Services. Not a bad fit at all for working at a fishing lodge. Always a sports enthusiast, Brenna was deep into baseball and gymnastics. She competed at the national level on the trampoline and once won first in synchronized trampoline. No surprise there: she has always been a winner. Brenna has now joined the White Fox crew in Saskatchewan where, when not traveling, she enjoys the frosty winters.

Dawson Sawchuck

Dawson Sawchuck

Maintenance Team

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We welcome back Dawson for third year at Scott. Last season he was Mason’s right hand man. He learned a lot last year and this season a lot will be asked of Dawson. He’s up to the challenge. He will do anything to get in more fishing time. A native of Sheho, a southeast Saskatchewan town (it’s real—look it up), Dawson feels right at home on an island with 60 residents. That’s half of his hometown, which boasts an official population of 121. Dawson is the total outdoorsman, loving fishing of course but also hunting and archery—anything that gets him outside. He also loves to put his favorite activities on paper and canvas. He paints and draws in his spare time. Other than doing great work at the Lodge, Dawson’s goal for the 2019 season is landing a pike over 45” (he broke the 40” mark last year). He sets his goals high and don’t be surprised if he accomplishes this one.

Jackie Tourand

Jackie Tourand

Hospitality Team

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Most Scott customers probably have not heard of White Fox, Saskatchewan. It’s a town with a few hundred hardy souls about two and a half hours north of Saskatchewan. It’s also the birthplace of Jackie Tourand, who grew up totally immersed in the outdoor life. Her family operated an outfitting business there and she at an early age became part of it. Jackie may be the only woman in Saskatchewan that can cape a whitetail as fast as she can bake a pie and do both well. In addition to working as a hunting guide and running her own trap line in winter, Jackie handles a mean hammer and saw, having completed a two-year carpentry apprenticeship in Saskatoon. She heard about Scott Lake Lodge and then watched a video about the lodge. She knew right away that it was the “right place” for her. The management here knows that too. That was five years ago. She is still going strong.

Darian Vandermeulen

Darian Vandermeulen

Maintenance Team

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When we recruit for our maintenance staff, we often look for a family farm background. People coming out of that background know two things well: how to work hard and how to fix almost anything. Darian fits that bill nicely, coming from a cattle grain farm in southeast Saskatchewan. His hometown is Lemberg, another town you’ve near heard of, but it’s near Yorkton which you might have heard of. In his second season at Scott, Darian can handle all the tough assignments that Mason throws at him. He’s a tough guy, having played hockey for twelve years (yes, he started early). Like Dawson, he has a secret ambition that’s not so secret—being a Scott Lake Lodge guide. That apprenticeship is long and demanding but don’t be surprised if you see either Dawson or Darian, Double D as they are known around here, at the back of a Scott guide boat someday.