St. Andrews, N.B. is a quintessential Maritime tourist town, but this year the town is without its most famous landmark. The majority of rooms at the historic Algonquin Hotel have been closed for a $25-million facelift. 

“They’ve shutdown 200 rooms, which is essentially 400 people wandering through the town every single day for most of the summer,” says innkeeper Jay Remer. “It is going to have a negative impact on business.”

With most of the hotel closed, it also means fewer people are working at the tourism icon.

“I think it is a bit of an eye opener of what the community would be like without the Algonquin,” says art gallery owner Geoff Slater.

The new Algonquin will be a Marriott Autograph Hotel; however, before it reopens, hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint need to be removed.

Asbestos and lead paints were standard building materials for generations and they are still frequently found when older buildings are renovated or demolished anywhere in the Maritimes.

A spokesman for the new owners says they expected to find some skeletons in the closet when the work began and the discovery does not change the renovation timetable. The company still wants to open the hotel in time for next year’s tourism season.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron