Shaun Majumder speaks to attendees at the St. John’s Board of Trade luncheon at the Bella Vista on Wednesday afternoon. — Photo by Daniel MacEachern/The Telegram
Shaun Majumder laid out the road map to Majumder Manor to the St. John’s Board of Trade Wednesday.
The Newfoundland-born comedian outlined his newest project to a full house at the Bella Vista. Majumder Manor is an eco-responsible inn in his hometown of Burlington, a venture that he’s undertaking to give back to the town that shaped him growing up.
It’s a project he’ll be talking about in his “This Tour Has 22 Cities” tour across Canada, which kicks off in St. John’s today at Holy Heart School. The planning and construction of the manor — set for this summer on the site of the abandoned school he attended as a child, which he bought — is also being documented for a 12-part half-hour television show. The show is slated to air on the W network in the fall of 2012, a series Majumder said would be like a 12-part commercial for Newfoundland in general and Burlington specifically.
“The project itself has been a project that’s been on the go for eight years, nine years, but has really only taken traction in the last six to eight months really, because we’ve got an amazing team around me now,” Majumder told the Telegram. “When we got secured on the TV show end of it, that’s when we were like, OK, good, now we can really get going because people will jump on board.”
Majumder said when he originally bought the property, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with it. His plan had been to build a bed and breakfast, but after talking to Tourism officials and businesspeople, he decided to open something more high-end.
“That’s something that’s missing in Newfoundland,” he said. “There’s not a lot of really high-end accomodations with really high-end food.”
“When we got secured on the TV show end of it, that’s when we were like, OK, good, now we can really get going because people will jump on board.” Shaun Majumder
Plans snowballed from there as Majumder enlisted an architect and a television producer to garner interest in the project, to which he wants to incorporate local flavour. He also wants to put back a portion of the project revenues into the community.
“The money that comes into it will come right back into the company so it can maintain and last and be sustainable. Because that’s one of the most important things about these kinds of projects,” he said, adding that he’s getting the community involved because he wants Burlington — with its hiking and snowmobiling trails — and not Majumder Manor to be the destination. “There’s a lot of townspeople that are really, really excited about what we’re going to be doing, incorporating greenhouses, getting back to the old way Newfoundlanders did it, like by having the billet system reinvigorated in the town,” he said. “So that if there’s only five rooms in the manor, there’s going to be other places. So we’ve reached out to the community and we’ve found out that there are people in the community who are willing to open their doors, and maybe with a little bit of money to retrofit their houses and their rooms so that it becomes another room within the manor system.”
The goal, he said, is to get tourists to come and experience Newfoundland the way it’s meant to be: amongst the people.