Believed to be inhabited by a “Great Spirit,” according to the Weskarini Algonquin (the first dwellers of the Rivière du Diable Valley), Mont Tremblant (then called Manitonga “Soutana Trembling” Mountain) has been a focal point in the region for centuries. Following years of exploitative logging, Curé Antoine Labelle wrote of his discovery of the territory, stating, “In 1869… I was ecstatic – taken by the spectacle of the Rivière du Diable basin and the Trembling Mountain!” Through Labelle’s efforts a train would connect Montreal to the Laurentians 36 years later, establishing consumer access to the region he hoped to share with the world. In its 75th year, Mont Tremblant has grown into a full-service, four-seasons destination. As the epicenter for alpine adventure in Eastern Canada, in access and intrigue, more Ontarians are sharing in its virtues than ever before.
“The 75th Anniversary is as much a milestone for the local community as it is for those who we’ve impacted in Ontario, Quebec and the rest of the world,” Annique Aird, Vice President Sales, Marketing and Communications for Station Mont Tremblant, told me during a phone conversation. “Tremblant welcomes over 2 million visitors annually, and about 40% come from Ontario.”
Torontonians can now reach the region in a speedy 70-minute trip using Porter Airline’s direct flights from the Island Airport. As easy as it is to get to, it’s significantly more difficult to pull yourself away. My family has held residence across Lac Tremblant for nearly 50 years. We’ve watched in awe as Tremblant has continued to transform both in scope and function.
Joseph Bondurant Ryan inaugurated the first chair-lift that bore access to eight trails at the Mont-Tremblant Ski Lodge on February 12, 1939. Mont Tremblant now boasts a whopping 95 runs, serviced by 8 chairlifts and 2 gondolas on four distinct faces. It can support over 27,000 skiers an hour, operates over 1,000 snow guns, and is the single largest alpine resort in Eastern North America.
Tremblant was conceived as a winter destination to service the ski loving community, however, its acquisition by resort-gurus Intrawest in 1991 spawned massive expansion both on and off the hill. Golf Le Géant (1994) and Golf Le Diable (1998) are just two of the summer installments that now categorize the region. Hiking, biking, watersports, Casino Mont Tremblant (2009), and a vibrant nightlife provide substantial offerings for Ontarians who are looking to escape the Georgian Bay scene.
“We attract at least half of our visitors during the summer months,” Aird explained. “We have huge events almost every weekend from May to Thanksgiving, like the Canada Cup, Ironman, and Wanderlust Festival that combines yoga, music and nature.” As Tremblant continues to expand its offerings, it seems equally focused on engaging with its local family as it is intent on welcoming others into its inner circle.“It’s about the joie de vivre, European flair, and the excitement that we build,” Aird exclaims.
As an Ontarian and Tremblant resident myself, Aird’s sentiments resonated with me. Though I don’t relish the longer lift lines during peak season, I laud the laissez-faire attitude that permeates the village. I love hearing languages from around the world as I walk the streets. I feel at home while being away. Tremblant represents growth and development, but still manages to maintain the indescribable Laurentian charm and undeniable natural splendor that consumed Curée Labelle some 145 years ago.
Happy 75th Anniversary, Mont Tremblant!
What’s your favourite thing about Mont Tremblant? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.