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The History of Totem Resorts

The History of Totem Lodge 


The Beginning of Totem Lodge

Totem Lodge first opened its doors in 1935 under the name Qui-Qua-Quay Lodge and operated until 1945 under the ownership of Mrs. Metcalfe.  Although all that remains of the original Totem Lodge is the magnificent stone fireplace, we take pride that the moose mounted above it was shot by Mrs. Metcalfe herself. In 1946 Mel Stinchfield purchased the lodge and changed the name to Mel’s Canadian Camps until it was purchased by Bill and Lucia Salvador in 1954. At that time, major renovations took place, renovations which eventually gave rise to the Totem Lodge you know and love today. The Browns became the proprietors in the fall of 1978 and are proud to be celebrating their 39th anniversary in 2017.  Over the years, the Browns have put much time and effort into making Totem Resorts the five-star facility that it is today. The Browns have grown Totem Resorts to also include Wiley Point Lodge, Yellowbird Lodge & Chalet as well as French Portage Outpost.


The Acquisition of Wiley Point Lodge

In May of 1989, Eric had a huge party to celebrate paying off the initial mortgage on Totem Lodge. Word spread around town about the event and he was offered the opportunity to purchase a lodge called Caribou Lodge on Caviar Lake. Eric began to do some work on the lodge that spring. While doing the reservations, Eric had the local owner of Gill’s Trading Post come to deliver some gas and he asked Eric why he had bought Caribou when he owned a place which is now called Wiley Point Lodge that had been abandoned for 30 years. Eric flew over to Wiley Point to take a look around and although it was very primitive and run down after being abandoned for such a long time, Eric fell in love with the area and saw huge potential. He purchased it immediately and sold Caribou after just one summer.  Eric has revamped and revived Wiley Point Lodge; there are no longer any of the original buildings left. Today, it is the best boat access only lodge on all of Lake of the Woods.


The Acquisition of Yellowbird Lodge

The original owner of Yellowbird Lodge, Mrs. Jean Thompson, was a widow who had owned the lodge since 1970. As she was getting on in years and getting ready to retire, she offered to sell the property to Eric, who was very interested.  They were working on a deal when Mrs. Thompson became gravely ill. Just before she passed away, she married the manager of her property and left him everything.  All was well for a few years, but after several years he decided to sell the lodge to Eric. Since then, significant additions and renovations have taken place, giving way to the most exclusive lodge in the area, specializing in large corporate groups, conferences and weddings. A true Diamond in the Rough!


The Brown Family

As a young man, only 25 years old, Eric purchased the lodge with his father, General Eric Brown Sr., in 1978. With a young family, his son Eric Brown (III) only 2 years old and 10 month old daughter Stephanie, they began to settle in and learn the business of fishing lodges.  Unfortunately, after a very short time, General Brown fell ill and left inexperienced Eric to run the lodge alone.  Eric flew by the seat of his pants, but had the internal instincts of a keen businessman. Slowly but surely, he build and grew the business all while raising his family on his own, including his youngest, Dustin, born in 1989. After almost 40 years of hard work, Eric has built his business to include 165-bed Totem Lodge, 125-bed Wiley Point Lodge, 65-bed Yellowbird Lodge and 10-bed French Portage Outpost. Today, Eric could not be more proud to watch his three children take  steps towards taking over the Brown family business. The legacy of what Eric began will live on in his children, his beloved grandchildren, Addison Brown, Eric Reeder Brown IV and Rush James Brown and for generations to come.