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Toad River Lodge at Mile 422 of the Alaska Highway is looking better than ever these days, with a complete rebuild finished earlier this year featuring a brand new lodge, new cabins, a full service garage, patio deck, and more.

The lodge has been in operation since 1945 and in the good care of owners and business partners Matthew Roy and Darrel Stevens since 1999. The two grew up on neighbouring farms in Edson, Alberta.

Roy says the lodge was a much-needed change from careers in coal mining, operating heavy equipment.

“Really, I just threw a dart at the map, but I knew I wanted to try something new,” said Roy, with a laugh. “We were tired of what we were doing.”

The choice to run the lodge hasn’t been without its struggles but well worth it so far, he said.

“There’s some naivety and stupidity in that, the willingness to work 24-7,” Roy said. “You don’t get your five days a week or any long weekends; you’re working twice as hard.”

One feature missing in the new lodge is the ceiling lined with hats placed by travellers heading up the highway.

Roy says it wouldn’t have been allowed in the new lodge under health inspection codes but understands how well loved the collection was by visitors.

“It was pretty cool to see; people brought hats from everywhere,” he said.

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