A doctor who left his mark (Part one)

© Courtoisie

Raymond Dupré was born in 1918 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His American father spoke only English while his mother, Marguerite Goulet, was a French-speaking woman from Québec. Mr. Dupré (Raymond’s father) worked for a railway company. There were three other children: Paul, Joseph and Lucine.

Raymond went to elementary school in the United States, in Worcester, but did his subsequent classical studies in the Séminaire Saint-Hyacinthe. He then went to the Université de Montréal to study medicine. He met his future wife, Marie-Marthe Sauvé, at Montreal’s Hôtel-Dieu hospital where she was studying nursing. It was love at first sight and, according to those who know them, he asked her to marry him while they were on their first date. These same sources add that she agreed to the marriage within twenty-four hours.

© Courtoisie

Young Dr. Dupré was then noticed by an established physician, Dr. Bourque. This latter had just been approached by Joe Ryan, a wealthy financier and promoter who owned Mont Tremblant ski resort.

In 1947, the place was hopping and the runs were very busy. Even with the best will in the world, accidents can happen on the runs. Joe Ryan wanted to create a medical clinic for his customers and was looking for a bilingual doctor to tend to everyone’s needs.

So with Dr. Bourque’s recommendation, Raymond Dupré came to be offered a clinic at the foot of the slopes. Chalet 57 became both clinic and residence for the young couple.

Shortly thereafter, in 1948, their first son, Paul, was born there.

The chalet was close to the single chairlift beside the Flying Mile run. For Dr. Dupré, who saw himself specializing in orthopedics, the mountain packed with skiers who were likely to injure themselves was the ideal place to practice his art.

At the age of six, I broke my leg at the end of the day while skiing the Sissy Schuss; the North side lifts were already closed. My father drove me to Dr. Dupré’s clinic to be treated there. At that time, chemin Duplessis did not yet exist and we had to go by way of Saint-Faustin, which was a long detour. I still remember the gentle doctor who treated my compound (open) fracture. He inspired calm and confidence.

When the chalet 57 clinic was established, Dr. Dupré want into partnership with an old classmate, Dr. Ouimet of Saint-Jovite. Overwhelmed with work, they decided to open a small hospital in the heart of the village (where the restaurant Sushi Shack is now). One of the first donors to get into the project with them was Warren G. Brown, who had made his fortune with his advertising company Cockfield Brown.

Mr. Brown’s house is still occupied by his son-in-law Peter Kirby, Olympic gold medallist and world champion in bobsleigh. (Ed. note: see “A very reserved hero” in our May 2020 issue, and “Ski Hall of Fame chooses Tremblant” in our May 2018 issue.)

And that’s how the Saint-Paul hospital was created…. To be continued…

 

More from this author by clicking on his photo below.

Peter Duncan

 

Peter Duncan64 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.

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