History and Construction
Before Le Grand Lodge
During the 18th century, trappers and fur traders scoured the lakes and rivers hunting and trading beautiful pelts with the Natives in exchange for trinkets. At the turn of the 19th century, forestry companies discovered the immense natural resources of the surrounding mountains. Huge pine trees, several centuries old were cut down and shipped to England for use by the British Navy and later sent south of the border to build the cities of Boston and New York. The forest of Mont-Tremblant supplied the American pulp & paper industry until 1930.
As of 1850, Irish and Scottish immigrants began moving up in droves from the Ottawa Valley to settle in Arundel County and as far north as the Mont Tremblant area. Meanwhile, Father Antoine Labelle, visionary and fiery curate of St. Jerome, undertook a program of colonization in the northern regions. He dreamed of a territory mainly populated with French Canadian Roman Catholics as far as Manitoba!
Between 1872 and 1890, from Ste. Agathe to Mont-Laurier, Father Labelle opened twenty-nine counties and twenty parishes, including those of St. Jovite and St. Faustin in 1879. Altogether more than five thousand French speaking people settled in the surrounding river valleys. Life was harsh. Away from their families for eight months of the year, most men were lumbering in the bitter cold of winter and spring logging in dangerous conditions for only a few cents a day!
At the turn of the 20th century, the choice of the Mont-Tremblant Region as a summer playground increased in popularity. Guesthouses, inns and hotels sprouted up all around. The surrounding forest, the pure mountain air and the striking beauty of the scenery drew wealthy Montrealers, as well as Americans and Europeans.
In 1936, Joe Ryan, a young eccentric American millionnaire was so taken by the scenery at the summit of Mont Tremblant that he decided to build "the biggest ski centre in the East." This was how Lake Ouimet and its exquisite Villa Bellevue became the choice destination for adventuresome skiers, for fishing expeditions, and a haven for relaxation and swimming.
With the onset of the 1950's booming postwar economy, the automobile and a higher standard of living that allowed for more leisure activity, the Laurentians became the playground for middle-class Montrealers and suburbanites.
Finally in 1991 significant investments were brought into the region to create a world-class resort destination.
(Reference: Tourisme Mont-Tremblant)
Dan first visited Tremblant in 1994; he came with some friends for a ski holiday and to see firsthand the quickly growing Mont-Tremblant region. “What struck me first about this area was this perfect combination of lakes, mountains and beautiful villages that seem to have been here forever,” Dan muses, as he recounts the beginning of an adventure that has become his passion and changed his life forever. “Being in Tremblant reminded me of long-ago summer trips to fishing camps with my father.”
A few years later, after many thoughts, dreams and plans, the opportunity to move to Mont-Tremblant and develop a lakeside resort became a reality.
"Every time I pull into Le Grand Lodge, I get this overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment,” Daniel Hanley beams, as he starts talking about how well everything came together to create what is truly a timeless addition to the region.
“This place is diverse enough to mean different things to many different people. From the families that we now see growing older and adding new generations, to the scores of business people who take advantage of our superb meeting facilities, to the romantic couples who come for an intimate getaway, there is something for everyone.
I remember something that took place in front of the huge stone fireplace one New Years Eve as I relaxed with my daughter Gillian on a big leather sofa. Two groups were enjoying the fire: one was a mother and her two children in their holiday pyjamas, sipping hot chocolate; the other was a couple dressed in the finest cocktail attire, sipping a martini and single malt. These families were each celebrating — happily, perfectly — in their own way. Outstanding!”
More than 10 years of Pleasure
Le Grand Lodge celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 with many events and contests. One happy contest winner will enjoy a Weekend for Life at Le Grand Lodge. When Mrs. Tessier booked her 2009 family summer vacation, she had no idea she would become automatically eligible for the contest and would be the lucky Grand Prize winner in the September draw. We gathered her reaction:
"We are so happy and feel privileged to have won this wonderful prize.
Even though the weather wasn't the best, we had a great family holiday. The Grand Lodge offers so many indoor activities: swimming pool, spa, billiard table, ping pong. We didn't see the time go by.
When the sun finally came out, we spent it on the beach, making sand castles with the boys and taking the canoe out on the lake. It really is a great place for the family.
The staff is polite and very helpful. The meals we had at the restaurant were so delicious! We are excited to be coming back each year and won't miss any of them. It is a promise!"