The forgotten: Joachin Chartrand
Born August 18, 1893, Joachin Chartrand, a carter by trade, became an employee of Mont Tremblant Resort in 1947. He was immediately assigned the North Side, where he lived until his departure in 1964.
He arrived in Mont-Tremblant riding his own horse. Hired on the spot, he was assigned a small log cabin located at the bottom of Sissy Schuss, just 100 metres from the Expo chair. He thus became my neighbour, because my parents and I lived at the Devil’s River Lodge, just behind Mr. Chartrand’s camp.
Let me describe him. Not very tall, a teaser and a man of few words, he was proud, reliable and generous. Father of six girls and four boys, he liked kids and of course, I felt good when I was with him.
I should remind you that at the time, the North Side was very isolated and in summer, there were more bears than humans. When I was little, my parents kept a close eye on me when I was outside for fear that I would be attacked by a bear. Mr. Chartrand added this responsibility to his duties. Another pair of eyes watched over me.
Nose to nose
Speaking of which, I recently learned that Rocco, the friendly companion I thought was my dog, was actually Mr. Chartrand’s. When, at night, a bear wandered by, Rocco would growl and, nose glued to my bedroom window, would attract the attention of the bear who would also growl, nose to nose with Rocco. My only protection was the window glass, so I would quietly get up to go tell my father.
Silently, he slipped on his trousers and, by the light of the moon, sighted his rifle to kill the bear. Very early the next morning, Mr. Chartrand, having heard the rifle report, would arrive at the house to help my dad take the bear to a taxidermist.
Like a guardian angel
If my parents had to be away, it was he who minded me. And it was no hardship for me, because Mr. Chartrand made the world’s best baked beans and I loved them. Which reminds me: I ate so much of them that I was not hungry for my meals.
My mother was worried, did a bit of sleuthing, and discovered that I was far from dying of hunger. At night, like a guardian angel, to protect and reassure me, Mr. Chartrand slept on the ground in front of the only bed in the little cabin. Nothing could harm me.
Tireless Mr. Chartrand
Let’s not forget that Mr. Chartrand worked very hard. In summer, he was responsible for building maintenance. He made sure that everything was in perfect shape and in the winter, it was his responsibility to feed the furnaces, which at that time burned coal. Using his horse and a big sleigh, as precisely as a Swiss watch, he went by every two and a half hours with his buckets of coal. He did this 24 hours a day, week in, week out.
He also shoveled the hotel and chalet walks, as well as removing the snow from the roofs of all these buildings. He was an exceptionally hard worker, and all extra jobs were done immediately.
An example to follow
I have only good memories of Mr. Chartrand. Today, in retrospect, I realize that, far from his family during the week, he missed his children and that I was a kind of substitute. Whether that’s true or not, I felt like one of his own and, following his example, learned to respect all those around me. With his humility and tenderness, he played an important part in my life.
Thank you, Mr. Chartrand.
By the same author: The forgotten: Arthur Robert (Click the image below)
Peter Duncan50 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.