Posts Tagged ‘Laurentian Lodge Club’

Hope springs eternal amid the soft rolling foothills.

March 26, 2015

Click below to have an irish background while you read today’s post!

Catharine writes:

This weekend, once again, it is the ‘end of season’ at the Laurentian Lodge Club. Clare Hallward and I will be heading up north to celebrate this special event where old traditions continue. Neil wrote the following about another special occasion at the Laurentian Lodge Club:

It was my birthday, New Year’s Eve 1994, about six months after my depression had lifted for good and the happiest summer of my life. Catharine and I had spent the afternoon cross-country skiing and were relaxed before supper in the lounge of the Laurentian Lodge Club at Prévost, amid the soft rolling foothills.

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The Laurentian Lodge Club in Prévost/Shawbridge. Click on the picture for more information about this venerable club.

Outside the frosted windows, the moonlight was glittering on the fresh snowfall; inside, a roaring fire flamed up the chimney of the large stone fireplace. A splendid dinner was prepared by our talented chef, André. I was presented with a birthday cake and a rousing chorus of three score years and ten. I don’t remember feeling happier. I felt connected in a way I had never felt connected before to these people who were my friends. I laughed, and it was a genuine laugh. In some measure I had become real. I was comfortable in my own skin. As I sat there in the dancing light of the fireplace and happy sounds of singing, I thought of all the people including my family and the Jesuits and my friends who had helped me on this journey. I thought of how God does indeed write straight with crooked lines. And then I thought, with Catharine smiling beside me, the best is yet to be.

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The above is an extract from McKenty Live! The Lines Are Still Blazing – click on the cover below to find out more about this newly-published book.

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New Year’s Eve, 1952 at the Laurentian Lodge Club

February 12, 2015

It was New Year’s Eve, 1952, at the Laurentian Lodge Club in the foothills of the Laurentian mountains. The members, out of their snowy ski togs and dressed to the nines, were sipping their pre-dinner drinks in the comfortable lounge, beside the Christmas tree and the blazing fieldstone fireplace. There was an air of anticipation. Word had gone round that a special announcement, somehow related to the club, was presently to be made by Buckingham Palace.

The fieldstone fireplace

The fieldstone fireplace

A young man, sporting a McGill blazer, walked over to the floor-model Marconi radio and turned the dials, so high the little children of the Club members had to stretch to reach them. There was a crackle of static before the news came on. The members crowded close to hear. One of them was smoking his pipe, a tall man in a grey herringbone suit over a red vest, a Princeton pin in his lapel.

Then the announcer read the item from Buckingham Palace with the prominent names on the Queen’s Honours List for the New Year, 1953. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second, had bestowed the Order of Merit, the highest civilian decoration in the British Empire, on Montreal’s renowned neurosurgeon, Wilder Penfield.

There were cheers, toasts and congratulations all around. Only one Canadian, the country’s longest serving Prime Minister, the Right Honourable MacKenzie King, had ever received the O.M., which could be held by no more than twenty-four people at a single time.

Dr. Wilder Penfield, founder of the Montreal Neurological Institute, joined the Shawbridge Club in 1930.  (Penfield Archives, Osler Library, McGill University)

Dr. Wilder Penfield, founder of the Montreal Neurological Institute, joined the Shawbridge Club in 1930. (Penfield Archives, Osler Library, McGill University)

Dr. Penfield and his family had been members of the Shawbridge Club since 1930. Now he was sixty-one, a trim balding man with the square shoulders of the athlete he had been at Princeton University, just over six feet tall, with an expression and smile that resemble President Eisenhower’s. He was an imposing but not intimidating figure, at least not at the Club where he was sometimes referred to as “the gentle giant”.

A keen skier himself, Dr. Penfield was often among the first to hear the early morning call, “Who’s for skiing this morning? Get a move on. All out.” It was a man’s voice, “clear and high,” he remembered, “like the voice of a yodeller at the start of his yodel.” The voice belonged to the most famous skier of them all, Hermann “Jackrabbit” Johannsen, who had been a member of the Shawbridge Club since its beginning in 1923.

Many a morning, the “Jackrabbit” skied over to the Club from his little house nearby, rousted up a group, clomped to the front door in sight of the Big Hill, snapped on his skis and, at the head of his chattering retinue, thin and craggy as a pine tree, swooshed through the powdery snow towards the heart of the mountains.

"This strong, wiry man with the profile of an eagle, Johannsen, is the Pied Piper, one might say, of the the ski hills. He called in his clear, high voice and the young and the strong came flocking after him to discover the cold, white beauty of the North." Wilder Penfield (CPR collection)

“This strong, wiry man with the profile of an eagle, Johannsen, is the Pied Piper, one might say, of the the ski hills. He called in his clear, high voice and the young and the strong came flocking after him to discover the cold, white beauty of the North.” Wilder Penfield (CPR collection)

Extracted from Skiing Legends and the Laurentian Lodge Club, for more information on the title and where you can get a copy click here. To find out more about the Laurentian Lodge Club, click here.