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GRAY ROCKS INN, MONT TREMBLANT

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Gray Rocks Inn (Photo - Ray & Diana Baillie)George and Lucile Wheeler came to Canada from upstate New York in the late 19th century, attracted by the lumber business; they left a legacy in the resort, recreational, and commercial airline businesses in the Laurentians north of Montreal. They were the first English Protestant settlers in the area. The home they’d built was destroyed by fire in 1896; they rebuilt, and in 1905, due to illness and financial problems, Lucile began to take “paying guests”. The fabulous hunting and fishing in the area, plus Wheeler hospitality, assured the Inn’s success. It became the first year-round resort in the area, accessible only by train – the beginning of the recreational boom throughout the Laurentians.

In the 1920s, the Wheeler’s son Tom began an air service to fly sportsmen to the area’s lakes. He turned a hayfield into a landing strip, and started what is believed to be Canada’s first commercial airline. The Wheeler family, pioneers in resort development and commercial aviation, made their mark in Quebec’s Laurentian playground. The Wheeler’s grand-daughter, Lucile Wheeler Vaughan, was World Skiing Champion in both Downhill and Giant Slalom in 1958.