The Beauvallon inn
The Riddell family, Alexander and his wife Frances, bought their country home on the shores of Lac Supérieur in 1953. With their children Alex Jr. and Joy, they discovered all that the area provided as a playground. It should be noted that this is a very sports-oriented family. The father, Alexander, was a champion of the 70- and 90-metre ski jumps. In 1940, he won the Canadian Eastern Championship held at Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel in the Mauricie.
Originally from Scotland, the Riddell family quickly became part of this community. In wintertime, the father and son accessed Mont Tremblant via the North Side and my first memories of Alex are the breakfasts enjoyed with our respective fathers at Devil’s River Lodge. Quite quickly, a good rapport developed between Alex and me. The Riddell family chalet was the perfect place to spend life’s best times, whether on weekends, Christmas holidays or summer vacations.
Alex met Judy in high school and the couple quickly decided to build their life together. They married in Copenhagen in 1972 during a European trip.
Alex was very drawn to the hotel business. He worked at the Queen Elizabeth under the direction of Mr. Mumford, who was considered the benchmark among hotel managers at the time. He managed his staff like a general manages their troops and it was the best place to learn the business.
Alex was in charge of the Beaver Club, whose customers were the trendy and fussy of Montreal’s business elite. Then he started to move towards the region which had attracted him since his youth.
He worked first at Hôtel Caribou Lodge in Lac Supérieur, in Ricky Parisien’s era. Then he moved on to Cuttle’s Tremblant Club with Jim and Betty Cuttle. Lastly, to the Schmidt Gast Haus where he made an offer to purchase that was refused.
So the couple returned to Montreal where, in 1975, the opportunity arose to acquire the Château Beauvallon. The Beauvallon had been built in 1942 by Joe Ryan on the parts of the Diable golf club harbouring the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th holes.
Detached and isolated from more worldly activities, the Château Beauvallon on Lac Beauvallon was an annex of the main hotel at the foot of the slopes. The Beauvallon was the model for the Devil’s River Lodge on the North Side, built in 1944. Alex knew the inn, managed with grace and warmth by my parents, very well.
Alex and Judy dove into the adventure head first. They took charge of the small, 15-bedroom hotel, Alex in the kitchen and Judy in administration. Because the job of a hotelier was very demanding, they stayed in the hotel to respond to the needs of their clientele, which was made up of skiers in winter and car racing fans in the summer – thanks to the inn’s huge parking area. In 1980, they became parents; Stephanie was raised in this environment which brought new faces every week.
The Riddell family is so welcoming and warm that the customers returned for the same weeks, year after year. This way they could reconnect with the Riddell family, but also with other guests who became friends over the years. Still today, it isn’t unusual to hear Alex and Judy say that such-and-such a couple is visiting them in their home. The friendships created are at this point unshakeable.
Alex and Judy still have the house on Lac Supérieur. Now it’s their grandchildren who benefit from it. Alex and Judy themselves have settled beside the Rouge River. Still very active, they take to the Mont Tremblant slopes in winter and in summer, it’s not unusual to happen upon them on the bike path.
They sold Château Beauvallon in 1998. Since that time, the beautiful building has been moved to the “four corners” intersection of montée Ryan and rue Labelle. The palliative centre called La Traversée could not wish for a better legacy than these walls, permeated as they are with the laughter and shared happiness that bring peace and comfort.
The Château Beauvallon has a new life and is well fulfilled.
More from this author by clicking on his photo below.
Peter Duncan60 Posts
Membre de l’équipe canadienne de ski alpin de 1960 à 1971, skieur professionnel de 1971 à 1979 et champion américain en 1965, Peter Duncan a participé aux Jeux olympiques de 1964 à Innsbruck ainsi qu’à ceux de 1968 à Grenoble. Intronisé au Temple de la renommée du ski au Canada, au Panthéon des sports du Québec et récipiendaire de la médaille du gouverneur général, Peter a longtemps été commentateur de ski à la télévision./ Peter Duncan is a Canadian former alpine skier who competed in the 1964 and the 1968 Winter Olympics. He was named to the Canadian National Alpine Team in 1960 at the age of 16 and competed at the national level for the next 10-years until 1970 before retiring.