New chapter for Parker House Suites: Couple takes over long-storied accommodation.

Author:McKinley, Karen

It's one of the oldest buildings in Sudbury and in its heyday was among many in a neighbourhood built for the elite of the city.

For years, Parker House Suites has been a temporary home for business travellers, as well as judges and lawyers who were just metres away from the city courthouse. As of October, Ken Birtch and his wife Lorena Dudley are the new owners of the historical 1920'sera building. Birtch said they are making a few changes, but making sure to preserve the ambiance.

"We know it's about making people comfortable," he said. "It's not about being glitzy or fancy. They want room to spread out and relax. We want people to feel at home."

The place always intrigued him, with its long history.

"I've been having a great time reading up on it from city records. It was a private home of a judge and his family, and this is a big house for a single family," he said. "A long time ago, it was a bookstore, then it was part of the Parker House, which was located across the street. It was a bed-and-breakfast kind of place, but the breakfast was in the other building.

"I'm learning so much about this place and the general history of the area. In the back, the garage, it was a carriage house. Back when it was built, this hill, this neighbourhood, was where the elite of the city's society lived."

Now, he said many of the homes on that end of Elm Street have been converted into businesses, with "maybe one or two" left that are still private.

Birtch said he and his wife purchased the building as a kind of retirement plan after a decades-long career with the Sudbury Police Service. He explained he and his wife have several years of experience running bed and breakfasts, so this is a natural transition for both.

Parker House is still operational while the new owners make small changes to the suites, including replacing keys with coded keypads and updating some of the electronics, but Birtch stressed the suites would have all the amenities already included.

Parker House Suites boasts the Alder Suite, the Elm Suite and the Studio Suite. Each has its own ambiance and unique features. However, all of them include a kitchenette, a large bathroom, Wi-Fi and a large flat-screen TV As well...

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