Mont Tremblant | In Search of the Forgotten Manitou

Mont Tremblant encompasses a town, ski resort and provincial park within the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. You will find it tucked away amongst woodlands and lakes, rivers and rolling hills, beyond the influence of big city noise. It is a nature lover’s paradise with an overlooked history to explore; a history extending millennia, long before French colonists came and settled this land in the mid-1800s.

While “Tremblant” derives from the French word for “trembling,” the true origins of its name predates the arrival of the French, to the Algonquin who seasonally inhabited this mountainous region for the wealth of resources contained within it. These Indigenous peoples, who knew this land so well, alerted the French to Mont Tremblant’s affinity for shaking beneath their feet.

The Algonquin called the Mountain, “Manitonga Soutana,” meaning, mountain of the spirits or “Manitou Ewitchi Saga,” mountain of the dreaded Manitou. For, should nature be disturbed in any way, changing the natural order of things, Manitou, the all-encompassing spirit of power, would make the mountain rumble and sway, sending boulders crashing down the mountainside. With this great might, Manitou gave life force, power and character to all animals, plants and rocks.

Manitou’s concern for the Mountain’s welfare and defence of nature is an essential and ageless message, a reminder to us all, to leave no trace; to minimize our impact on this land. In its very name, Mont Tremblant pays homage to its French heritage, but this colonist lens is only a small part of a much deeper, richer story of Indigenous identity, culture and history in this area.

Here, in Mont Tremblant, in everything you see and hear and feel and smell, there is life in this place. It is clear why Manitou so fiercely protected it, and why the Algonquin, who inhabited this land, so revered it.

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