Thistle Hospitality Group

Creating Life's Special Moments

We offer on-site event hosting and off-site catering for weddings, receptions, private parties, birthdays, celebrations of life, and more.

Wedding Guide

Uniquely Yours… no matter your style, Founders House Dining & Drinks and Fort View Golf Course in Nova Scotia is the wedding venue everyone will remember.

Catering Menus

Experience the detailed innovation of our Chefs, and restaurant quality food at your next event. We offer a wide variety of food and packages, or we’ll work with you one-on-one to customize that perfect meal.

Thistle & Co
Food Truck Adventures

Have THG cuisine anywhere! We can roll-up to your event, even those without kitchen space, and offer you a truly unique dining experience. With our mobile canteen Thistle & Co Food Truck Adventures we can deliver anything from a 5-course tasting menu, to a taco truck!

Our Properties

Hospitality is all about human connection; at Thistle Hospitality Group, we excel in creating memorable experiences that connect people with each other, great food, atmosphere, and most importantly this amazing place we call home.

Thistle Hospitality was created in 2019, and oversees operations at four signature properties to deliver the absolute best in experiential tourism.

Our Team

Derived of professionals who excel in their field, Thistle Hospitality Group is owned by Roland Hamilton and headed by Laura Hamilton (General Manager), Kyle Ellis (Operations Manager), Chris Pyne (Corporate Chef), Lisa Hamilton (Chief Finance Officer), and Francis Boutin (Food and Beverage Manager).

Their vision is to create outstanding hospitality experiences in their hometown of Annapolis Royal.

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Roland ‘Poudie’ Hamilton


Born and raised on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. Poudie has spent his life dedicated to his family and community. Things weren’t always easy, sometimes he would be working three or four jobs at a time, all while trying to make a go as an entrepreneur.  

When he had his big break in the spring 1994 when he discovered the American Glass Eel while he was leisurely trout fishing with a friend. By 1995 he had his first elver fishing license, and spent the rest of the 90’s developing what is now the very lucrative fishing industry. 

Poudie has since made a lifelong commitment to growing local business initiatives. He often says that the good Lord saw fit for him to find wealth, and that it is his duty to pay-it-forward and help others. 

Poudie now owns several businesses, and has invested in just as many. The impact that he has made on our community is priceless. 

In his semi-retirement, he enjoys spending time in the wood, hunting and trapping. Or enjoying a muskrat stew that his partner Janice has made in the Bay of Fundy home. 

Lisa Hamilton

Chief Financial Officer

Ontarian born Lisa moved here with her family as a young adolescent and quickly became a Nova Scotian, living and raising her family on the banks of the Annapolis River her entire life.

With more than 20 years of experience in accounting, human resources, office administration, and a relationship spanning 40 years with Poudie. Lisa came to work for him in 2012, when the company wasn’t more than just a seasonal fishery.

Now she manages the financials and human resources for all of the company’s divisions, she is truly the glue that holds it all together. Lisa handles anything from income & expenses, staffing and payroll, to licensing, and government compliance, and anything else that comes across her desk. She’s also our resident unlicensed therapist!

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys gardening, sewing (or collecting wool and fabric as her husband says), cooking, riding her motorcycle with her husband. Most of all she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and grandchildren, especially when they go camping!

Chris Pyne

Corporate Chef

It all started when Chris was fourteen standing behind the line for the first time working for the family business…he knew he was going to be a chef one day and has never looked back since.

His apprenticeship and first taste of fine dining started at one of the top restaurants in Calgary, AB – Rush Restaurant. Becoming part of a professional brigade, Chris was the youngest cook on the team and the restaurant had just been awarded best fine dining establishment in the city. It was here that he learned the importance of seasonality, quality and how to respect ingredients and food.

That was followed with three more years in Calgary, working for Chef Michael Noble at NOtaBLE, under Chef Justin Labossiere who mentored Chris as he graduated from the culinary program at S.A.I.T and achieved his Journeyman and Red Seal certification…all by the age of 21.

Working in the United Kingdom brought him the experience of working for one and two Michelin star Chefs Anthony Demetre and Marcus Wareing in London. Following family roots, he accepted a job in Wales at Restaurant James Sommerin and quickly became the senior Chef De Partie. While there, the team earned a coveted Michelin star for the restaurants’ first time and were also awarded restaurant of the year. Back home in Canada Chris put his own stamp on casual fine dining at Michael and Marion’s in Ontario.

Chris says “With family ties here in Nova Scotia, coming to Founders House was like coming home.” With the birth of Thistle Hospitality Group, Chris now puts his spin on a variety of cuisines here in Annapolis County.

Laura Hamilton

General Manager

Laura had her first taste of the tourism industry scooping ice cream for Cam and Jan Albright at Dunromin Campground when she was 12. She instantly fell in love with the people who visited and fell in love with Annapolis Royal and that love led her to pursue a degree in Tourism Management.

At the Digby Pines with Valerie Carty is where she first put her knowledge to work before leaving Nova Scotia to travel from Newfoundland to Alberta – gaining experience and life lessons along the way. Like so many Nova Scotians she leapt at the chance to come home as soon as it arose, taking a position at a prominent Halifax hotel where she headed their guest service department.

After stepping away from the industry to focus on her two small children, she carried an ache in her heart to move back to Annapolis Royal. Laura says “There is something about this place – an energy that draws your soul here – and both the first peoples and the founders of our communities would tell you that feeling has been nurtured here for many lifetimes”. The development of the Fort View Golf Course gave her an opportunity of a life time – to bring her family here and fulfil Laura’s dream of sharing this place with others so they can fall in love with Annapolis Royal… all over again or for the very first time!

Kyle Ellis

Operations Manager

From the age of 16, washing dishes and Camp Acadia in Cornwallis. Kyle developed an appreciation for the fast pace and excitement that the hospitality industry had to offer.

After attending college and realizing that IT was not a career that he wished to pursue. Kyle parlayed his summer employment into a full-time job in Halifax at Dalhousie University. Where spent the next 10 years working his way up the ladder, eventually ending his time there as a Residence Dining Manager.

He then moved on to the Sports & Entertainment side of the hospitality business at the Scotiabank Centre. Where he managed many big-ticket events during his three years there. However, his favourite part of this position was not in Halifax, it was the travel in the off season. Having the opportunity to be a part of extraordinary events from Saint John’s to LA and many places in between.

When Kyle heard the rumblings of the pub purchase, he was quick to approach long-time friend Laura about the potential. Which meant an opportunity to come back home! The role that was originally planned to be the management of what is now The Whiskey Teller, ending up morphing into an overall Operations Manager position. Where Kyle has been able to put his many years of large-scale hospitality experience to work in this little town that he loves so much. He is extremely excited to grow along with this thriving hospitality group and all the amazing people who make it possible!

Francis Boutin

Food and Beverage Manager

More about Francis coming soon …