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Stanley Ferguson Fonds (P693)

Excerpt of a letter from Jacqueline Kennedy to Stanley Ferguson (1919-2011) (detail), 1968. Gift of Stanley Ferguson, Stanley Ferguson Fonds P693, M2006.38.6.2 © McCord Museum

"February 29, 1968

Dear Mr. Ferguson,

I do want to thank you for all you did to make my weekend in Ste. Agathe such a pleasant and memorable one.

I understand that you were responsible for so many of the special arrangements, including the wonderful lunch at Devil's River Lodge and the picnic in the Chalet on top of the mountain. To say nothing of supplying us with lots of warm parkas which was the greatest comfort of all.

My children and I have never enjoyed skiing more than this trip and I shall always be grateful to you for your kindness and thoughtfulness.

With my best wishes.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline Kennedy"

Imagine yourself on the slopes of Mont Tremblant, surrounded by its magnificent views and high peaks. Nearby, a small group of lively skiers is flying down the mountain. As you begin your descent, Jackie Kennedy, the widow of the assassinated American president, suddenly whizzes by, sending up a plume of powdered snow. Although this scenario sounds highly unlikely, it is exactly what several surprised skiers on the famous Laurentian mountain must have experienced in February 1968, as evidenced by this thank-you letter sent to Stanley Ferguson, vice-president and general manager of Mont Tremblant Lodge. This resort, which became a huge success when it first opened in 1939, was a favourite destination of American high society at the time.

Was the former First Lady enjoying some time in nature and a ski vacation to relax and forget the drama that had haunted her since the death of her husband, John F. Kennedy? Or was she taking a break so she could reflect upon her recent marriage proposal from old friend David Ormsby-Gore, the former British ambassador to the United States? Whatever the reason, it is hoped that these moments of pleasure in Quebec were restorative enough to help her cope with the rest of that year, which was marked by the tragic death of her brother-in-law Bobby several months later, followed by her unlikely marriage to Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis.


P693 Stanley Ferguson Fonds. - 1968-1985. - 1.3 cm of textual records. - 6 photographs.

Biographical Sketch

Stanley Ferguson was born in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, in 1919. He was the son of Janet Powell and William Stanley Ferguson, a First World War veteran.

Early in his career, he held various jobs in the Laurentian hospitality sector before becoming manager of Mont Tremblant Lodge, located at the foot of Mont Tremblant. Developed by American Joseph Bondurant Ryan, this lodging establishment was the first large-scale ski resort in Quebec. When it opened on February 12, 1939, it featured a chairlift and eight runs, making the mountain accessible to skiers. When Ferguson arrived in 1942, Mont Tremblant Lodge was already one of the most prestigious hotels in the region, attracting celebrities and people from around the world.

In 1944, he left Quebec and became the resident manager of the luxurious King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto, which was owned by the Canadian Cardy Hotels Corporation. In 1947, he was transferred to Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson, where he was general manager of the Alpine Inn until 1950. The American Sheraton hotel chain then named him sales director for its Canadian hotels and, after organizing and setting up this new department, he moved briefly to Niagara Falls, where he was general manager of the General Brock Hotel.

In 1950, his sister Edith Victoria married Vernon Grandison Cardy, a Canadian hotel magnate. A year later, Cardy announced the appointment of Stanley Ferguson as the manager of his Laurentian properties: Sainte-Adèle Lodge, Alpine Inn and the Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson golf course. In 1965, Joseph Bondurant Ryan's widow, Mary Ryan, offered to sell Mont Tremblant Lodge to businessman André Charron. Forming a partnership with Jean-Louis Lévesque and Roger Beauchemin, Charron purchased the establishment, renaming it Mont Tremblant Resort. Ferguson was made vice-president and general manager of the ski resort, returning to Mont Tremblant after over twenty years. The experienced hotelier improved the finances of the establishment, which was welcoming more and more loyal and demanding clients.

Named general manager of Montreal's Sheraton Mount Royal Hotel in 1976, he subsequently became regional vice-president of Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts, which then owned the Château Frontenac and Château Montebello.

A leader in the Canadian hotel industry, Stanley Ferguson was involved in many aspects of the industry throughout his career. For example, he was one of the founders of the Laurentian Winter Roads Association, and was a past president of the Laurentian Resort Association, the Montreal Hotel Association, the Provincial Hotel Association of Quebec and the Hotel Association of Canada. He was also a member of the International Hotel Association and director of the Greater Montréal Convention and Tourism Bureau. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Laurentian Ski Museum, which highlighted his contributions to developing the sport of skiing in Quebec and getting it recognized on the international stage.

He died in Saint-Sauveur on August 12, 2011.

Scope and Content

This fonds focusses on Stanley Ferguson, a pioneer of the Canadian hotel industry, who worked specifically in the Laurentian recreational and tourism sectors, but also elsewhere in Quebec and Ontario. It chronicles his professional relationships from 1968 to 1985, from the time when he was general manager and vice-president of Mont Tremblant Resort, to when he was regional vice-president of Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts.

The fonds essentially contains correspondence from various personalities in the worlds of politics and sports. There are thank-you letters signed by the former First Lady of the United States, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and his wife, Margaret Joan Trudeau. In these missives, the writers praise the impeccable organization behind their respective stays, the wonderful ski conditions, and the good times had at Mont Tremblant Resort. The fonds also contains a form, which the Trudeau family filled in by hand, asking that its mail be forwarded to 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa. An invitation and program for a "Gala Performance" document the March 1985 visit of American President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Robbins Reagan, and the activities they enjoyed while in Quebec. As the guests of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the couple was greeted by Stanley Ferguson upon their arrival at the Château Frontenac in Quebec City, where they spent the night. Other letters, written in 1979 and 1983 by Norwegian-Canadian Herman "Jackrabbit" Smith-Johannsen, illustrate the friendship between the two men. Already a centenarian when he sent these letters, the cross-country skier talks about his health and his latest trip to Norway, and expresses his gratitude with regard to a recent stay at Château Montebello.

Several photographs of Stanley Ferguson skiing with Pierre Elliott Trudeau and fishing with Herman Smith-Johannsen are also preserved in the fonds. An official autographed portrait of Trudeau completes this collection.

Source of title proper: Based on the creator of the fonds.

Physical condition: Most of the textual documents and photographs are framed.

Immediate source of acquisition: The fonds was donated to the McCord Museum by Stanley Ferguson in 2006.

Language: The documents are in English and French.

Associated material:

BAnQ (Old Montreal): Fonds Office des congrès et du tourisme du Grand Montréal (P405)

Laurentian Ski Museum: Fonds Musée du ski des Laurentides (P01)


The fonds is divided into the following series:

 

Last update: June 5, 2018