Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Chateau Montebello

In the summer of 1999 I worked for CP Hotels at The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.  CP owned pretty much every iconic Canadian hotel and resort at the time, and since employees were able to stay for $30 a night at any property in the chain, I made a rather long short list of the places I wanted to visit that summer.  Chateau Montebello in Montebello, Quebec was on that list, but being 800 kilometres away from St. Andrews, it never happened.  This past weekend I finally made it to the Chateau, as two great friends were getting married there in a winter wonderland setting.
Chateau Montebello - The 'World's Largest Log Cabin'
The resort grounds are on the Ottawa River, on a parcel of land that was part of the Seigneurial system of New France, meaning that from 1627 to 1854 it was owned by the King of France and was 'maintained' (i.e. the rents and taxes were collected by) the assigned Seigneur.  The Chateau itself was built by 3,500 labourers in 1930 as a private wilderness retreat for business and political leaders of the time, and until 1970 only members of the 'Seigniory Club' and their invited guests could attend.  Now the only control over who attends is the price controls imposed by Fairmont on room rental rates.

Friday night featured a little bit of this...
Hurry Hard!
...and quite a bit of this.
Saturday had activities for those that just wanted to chill...
...for those that wanted to throw the body (and the Labatt Bleue) around...
 ...and those that wanted to work up a sweat.
What's not shown in the photo above is my busted body on the side of the trail after getting absolutely schooled in cross-country skiing by Emilie...wipeouts galore have the body pretty sore this week.

All of this was just a prelude to the main event on Saturday night, great times with great friends.
No trip to Quebec is complete without their provincial food - after consuming a few of these over the weekend I'm sure it's pure coincidence that I weighed in 2kg heavier this week than last.
Vive le Quebec!
Of course Quebec isn't famous just for inventing the poutine and providing us with a French feudal land system in the 1600's, it also spawned one of the biggest female pop sensations of the 80's...

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