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Visiting Mont-Tremblant, Quebec: world class winter resort, with memories of Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Updated on January 25, 2013
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
Mont-Tremblant | Source
Sunrise, Lac Tremblant (Lake Tremblant) 1922, Maurice G. Cullen
Sunrise, Lac Tremblant (Lake Tremblant) 1922, Maurice G. Cullen | Source
Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1980
Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1980 | Source

Simultaneously cosmopolitan and scenically rural

On Lake Tremblant (lac Tremblant ), in Quebec's Laurentian Mountains (les Laurentides ) is situated what has become a world class winter resort: Mont-Tremblant, located at the foot of the mountain also of the same name. Together, these form part of the Mont-Tremblant National Park (Parc national du Mont-Tremblant ).

Some features and history

The Fairmont Tremblant is part of the great chain of hotels, a number of which are situated in Quebec, including Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and Fairmont Le Château Montebello; others in Canada include the Fairmont Banff Springs, the Fairmont Royal York, Toronto, the Fairmont Château Laurier, Ottawa, and the Fairmont Empress, Victoria. Together with many amenities, the Fairmont Tremblant has a high-speed chairlift as a service for the ski-resort that Mont-Tremblant is ideally suited for. In no small part because of the accommodation facilities, to which this leading chain contributes, Mont-Tremblant has become established among Canada's leading, world-class visitor centres.

It was not always so. The municipality of Mont-Tremblant is made up of a number of what were once isolated villages, including Saint-Jovite and Mont-Tremblant-Village. Such was the quiet, rural character associated with the life of these villages that one of them, Lac-Tremblant-Nord, opted in 2006 to leave the municipality of Mont-Tremblant and become an entity in its own right.

But be that as it may, I am reminded of Switzerland by the way in which Mont-Tremblant has managed to combine a state-of-the-art, high quality infrastructure with a cosmopolitan clientele, while retaining much of its historic, rural character. Indeed, like Switzerland, its quiet surrounding villages may combine tranquil, rural-looking buildings with high quality jewellers' boutiques. One of the many attractive features of Mont-Tremblant lies in the way in which its numerous, up-market boutiques are painted in various, bright colours, their architectural styles sometimes evoking rural, mountain chalets.

Over several years intermittently, the Mont-Tremblant Champ Car Grand Prix has been a celebrated motor racing event held at the Circuit Mont-Tremblant. This has been yet another source of large numbers of worldwide visitors.

Mont-Tremblant's well developed golfing have also attracted many high-profile events and visitors; prominent amateur golfers who have used its course facilities have included former President Bill Clinton and Monsieur Jean Chrétien (1).

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, early years visiting Lake Tremblant

In Citizen of the World , his copious biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the writer John English has related incidents in the early life of the Canadian statesman. Long before the development of Mont-Tremblant as a resort, the shores of Lake Tremblant (lac Tremblant ) were the location for not a few vacation cottages, one of which belonged to the Trudeau family. When Pierre Elliott was a youngster, here at this location — at the time, seemingly remote — he would regularly be exposed at one time to as many as twenty house guests of the family, from different walks of life, undoubtedly contributing to the future leader's very cosmopolitan, personal journey (2).


(1) Canadian Prime Minister, 1993-2003.

(2) John English, Citizen of the World: the Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau , Volume One: 1919-1968, Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2006, p. 13

Also worth seeing

Saint-Agathe-des-Monts (distance: 31.6 kilometres); a town which expanded in the late 19th century, it has a cathedral-like, towered church; like Mont-Tremblant, it has a traditionally high proportion of Anglophone population, some of it seasonally based.

The architectural and cultural attractions of Montréal (distance: 133.4 kilometres) are too numerous to mention here, but of special note, among many others, are: the Belvedere (le Belvédère ) at Mont-Royal and St Joseph's Oratory (l'Oratoire Saint-Joseph ); the domed Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours ), which dates from 1847, and was a venue used to house the Parliament of United Canada, prior to Confederation. The Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal ) was built mainly between 1824 and 1829, where, among other events, many Montrealers attend annual performances of Handel's 'Messiah'. The Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique ), situated in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, and used for the 1976 Olympics, has the the world's tallest inclined tower, at 175 metres.

Mackenzie King Estate (Domaine Mackenzie King ), Chelsea , in Gatineau Park (Parc de la Gatineau ; distance: approx. 159 kilometres), contains Kingswood , Moorside and The Farm , all properties which belonged to Canada's veteran Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950), the first two of which are open to the public; The Farm is the official residence of the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons.


How to get there: Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal ) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. A number of car rental companies offer service at Montreal-Trudeau airport. Limousine and bus shuttles operate between Trudeau Airport and Mont-Tremblant. In addition, Porter Airlines flies direct to Mont-Tremblant International Airport (Aéroport International de Mont-Tremblant ) from Toronto-Pearson, and Continental Airlines flies direct to Mont-Tremblant from New York-Newark. VIA Rail maintains regular services with Toronto and Windsor. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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