A man buys a mountain, installs a luxury train, and builds a modern luxury eco hotel out of the ground. And invested 150.000 million Canadian dollars in the process.

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From street artist to billionaire

In the case, the man is Cirque-du-Soleil co-founder Daniel Gauthier. And while his business partner Guy Laliberté is flying into space as a space tourist, Gauthier has just bought a mountain called Le Massif. When I first heard about the story, I spontaneously thought: I have to go there.

And exactly in the region where the two come from: Charlevoix. In 1983, Laliberté received $1,5 million from the provincial government to fund a multi-city street event for Quebec's 450th anniversary celebrations to organize. Cirque Du Soleil, worth billions today, was born. It seems as if the two already had the big picture in mind back then.

The big picture in view

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Today Gauthier said goodbye to Cirque Du Soleil and dedicates himself only to his mammothProjects: He reactivated the existing train route from Quebec City to Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie and converted old train wagons from the 30s into luxurious vehicles with technically sophisticated interiors.

In the next few years he wants to transform the area between Le Massif and Baie-Saint-Paul into a four-season resort: new hotels, spas, renovated ski slopes and outdoor activities - but all as green as possible. Accordingly, he also wants his hotel la ferme, too German “the farm” can be understood as a replica of the farm that originally stood on this site: It consists of the main house and four pavilions, each of which is assigned to a different farm theme: There is a mill, a sheep pen, a chicken yard, a barn – and even a herb garden in the inner courtyard.

As green as possible

All buildings are operated with geothermal energy Energy. In the final version, however, the solar cells that were originally planned, as can be read in Stern, were omitted. "We have decided to only rely on geothermal energy," says the press office of Gauthier's Le Massif Group.

I found the generally prevailing, hyped mood a little annoying: It seemed as if they should Employees not only present the hotel, but also a message sell. It remains to be hoped that both will subside a little over time.

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Exchange with the inhabitants

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In general, the term get-together in the la ferme is to be taken literally: the hotel is not a demarcated building reserved for the guests, but also a meeting place for the inhabitants of Baie-Saint-Paul.

Including them and creating a place for exchange was part of the process from the start Concept besides, it was practically a condition for construction. The buildings of the hotel are therefore laid out around an inner courtyard, which on Sundays mutates into a small marketplace for local products and a concert stage.

Richard Lambert, who works at Laiterie Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul, remembers how the two started over 30 years ago: “They were street performers, they wanted to entertain people. But nobody took them seriously, people only laughed at the crazy ones ideas. Today they proved them wrong."

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How much has been invested?

Charlevoix was already a very touristy region, incidentally one of the oldest tourist regions in North America, and its location, just an hour's drive from Quebec City, makes it ideal for summer visitors from the capital. But with this one Investment it is hoped that the region will also become more important on the international market.

In general, the investment: Gauthier has $150.000 of his Money invested, with another 60.000 said to have come from the Quebec region. However, the exact investment sum is not quite clear: No further details were given when asked. Somebody on site told me that the entire project has now far exceeded the original $ 200.000 and has reached 300.000 - and that further payments are now being negotiated with the region.

the farm

Criticism of the project

The size is also what is disturbing so many on the spot - only admit it would really not want anyone, because most also profit financially somehow from the project. The one complain that it is now over with the rest and the region is now too much change.

The others speak contemptuously of a hotel “for rich people” that People have nothing to do here. And quite practically, many a restaurant owner is annoyed that the hotel poached away all the good employees when it opened. But the Success seems to agree with Gauthier: the hotel is fully booked well into next year.

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