CAMP FORTUNE HISTORY
Generations of families ski here.
Camp Fortune is a full-service ski area, located only 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa-Gatineau, in the heart of the Gatineau Park. The history of Camp Fortune’s development showcases the impact this resort has had on skiing in the region from as far back as 1910 to present day. Camp Fortune often won the praise of Governors General in the past who commended the Ottawa Ski Club for their part in promoting active living in the region.
- Camp Fortune is one of the oldest alpine ski centres in Canada, dating back to 1920.
- Camp Fortune was the early training ground for Olympians Betsy Clifford, Anne Heggtveit, Patrick Biggs and Crispin Lipscomb
- Former Olympian Patrick Biggs is current President of the Camp Fortune Ski Club as well as a coach.
- We branched out 10 years ago, adding aerial park and zipline courses, offering customers year round active adventure
In 1910 the Ottawa ski club was founded and ran activities from Rockliffe Park, Ottawa. Although activities were suspended from 1915-1919 due to WWI, the Ottawa Ski Club reconvened in 1919 and commenced activities which have not ceased to this day. The history at Camp Fortune began in 1920 with the purchase of Garrett Fortune’s woodsman’s shack in the area of Fortune Lake and Fortune Hill. The modest camp building was renovated and served as the club’s first lodge and is the reason for the name Camp Fortune.
Skiing pursuits at that time were focused primarily on trail running or what is now referred to as cross-country skiing as well as ski jumping. Ski jump towers were built in Rockliffe Park and later, at Camp Fortune, although popular, this ski discipline was participated in by only a small percentage of the club members who largely preferred trail skiing.
Sundays were ski days and eager skiers gathered at Ottawa Station, equipment in-hand, for the north-bound train to Kirk’s Ferry where they would begin their cross-country trek to Camp Fortune. From 1921-1932 the Gatineau Hills were filled with skiers making their way along a network of trails from Wrightville (Hull, now Gatineau) to McCloskey’s Farm and the Western Lodge and Camp Fortune, sixty miles of trails in all. Trails were maintained and patrolled by the Ottawa Ski Club “night rider” volunteers before the National Capital Commission began the Gatineau Park patrol.
Some famous visitors included Governor General Willingdon (1926), Lord Tweedsmuir (1935), Governor General Alexander (1946), Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (1943), Right Honourable George P. Vanier, (1959) and MacKenzie King to name a few. In the 70’s Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was known to carve a few turns on the slopes and during his term as Prime Minister, Jean Chretien enjoyed racing his bodyguards on the slopes of Camp Fortune in his spare time as Prime Minister and still occasionally skis with us today!