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THE SANITARIUM THAT NEVER WAS

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In 1894, Dr. Camille Laviolette of Laval University convinced the Provincial Government to set aside a large parcel of Laurentian property for the creation of a forestry reserve. His plan was to build a tuberculosis sanitarium in a completely protected environment. The proposal, originally drafted in 1893, was accepted in July 1894. Dr. Laviolette had studied in Paris, London and Berlin. He was a member of la Société Française d’Otologie et de Laryngologie de Paris, a specialist at l’Institution des Sourdes et Muettes, and was a medical doctor at the University of Laval. He planned the ‘Sanatorium d’Altitude pour la tuberculose’ which was to be situated only four miles from the St. Jovite railroad station on the south-east face of La Montagne Tremblante (Trembling Mountain). The “Act to establish the Trembling Mountain Park” was sanctioned on January 12, 1895. It set aside 14,750 acres for the forest reserve and an additional 400 acres on the summit of the mountain “to any persons or corporations who furnish sufficient sureties that they will erect and maintain such sanitarium...” The sanitarium was never built. But the act contained a curious stipulation. Clause 4 read “This act shall not affect any rights acquired under any license to cut timber or any lease to any person or to any fish and game club.” A short article some years later (1902) in the St. Jerome paper L’Avenir du Nord deplored the monopolisation and misuse of public lands for maintaining an exclusive fish and game club at Lac Tremblant. The article suggested that the club members had friends in high places and that the $50 per year cost was a gift: It was worth twice that amount.

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