Track 7: REGENERATION – COMMUNITY, ECONOMICS, and EQUITABLE PLACES / Volet 7: Régénération – Collectivité, économie et lieux équitables

Material culture: Square-log cabins in the Village of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Friday, October 13
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Square-log cabins, which were historically used to colonize the Laurentides, Quebec, are now being adapted for new uses. Despite the changes, the overall historical character of the cabins is still evident, the old coexisting with the new. Preservation of these log cabins is important not only because of their technological aspects, but also because of the collective memory and its powerful connections with the environment that is expressed through the cabins’ material culture. The remaining log cabins in the village of Mont-Tremblant are the product of their history, the community, and the values which keep changing with time. As such, these examples need to be understood as the process of adaptation through use and time. Hence, preservation needs to be viewed as an evolving narrative. This research searches for that narrative by analyzing the natural, the socio-cultural, the economic, and the technical aspects of these cabins.
From the hundreds of log cabins that were built by the settlers in Saint-Jovite at the end of the 19th century, very few are still located in their original place. Other log cabins have been refurbished with new additions and other changes. Starting in the 1960’s several cabins were moved to different locations and have been integrated into the new life of the local community. Exploring how these cabins change over time also reveals how the socio-cultural values associated them have also evolved as expressions of Canadian identity.
Structures from the past are evidence of the history, but what happens to these buildings depends on the contemporary cultural ideas and values from the current community. Through different grassroots effort from the community to preserve their cabins reasserts the concept that heritage buildings are a narrative - not just about the past, but also about the people - that travels through time. As an example, the efforts to restore in 2008 one of the three settler’s cabins that remains which includes rediscovering and applying first-hand knowledge of local construction techniques, dimensions, and details – is a good example of a way material authenticity can be preserved. Three adaptive reuse cabins such as: Le Refuge des Draveurs, the Clagett’s Cabin, and Plourde’s jewelry-atelier are examples of the appreciation of the historical and aesthetic values and the ways these values can also provide financial and sustainability benefits.
The log cabins in Mont-Tremblant reflect the current needs of the society while still allow the values of the past to be communicated through the remaining structures, demonstrating how the present values have developed through time, how important is the grassroots efforts from the community and how sustainability is needed for future uses and generations.

Learning Objectives:

Mariana Esponda

associate professor
Carleton University

Mariana Esponda, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Conservation and Sustainability program since 2008, School of Architecture, Carleton University. Following her training as Mexican architect, she obtained a Phd in 2004 in Architectural Conservation, Spain. Dr. Esponda has been working on heritage buildings, in both private and public sector, for the last 17 years to fully understand historical constructions and to create new sustainable designs. Her projects include restoration, adaptive reuse and rehabilitation on existing structures in Spain, Canada and Mexico. Her line of investigation addresses Sustainable Heritage Conservation, balancing culture and nature, integrating environmental construction techniques and economic practices.


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Hanna Bell

Hannah holds an MBA in Innovative Management from UPEI, and has 30 years of varied experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the UK, Brussels, and Canada. She is currently the Executive Director of the PEI Business Women's Association, owner of consultancy firm ‘The Solution Agency’; a partner in training firm ‘Business Learning Solutions’, and co-owner of ‘The SPOT Charlottetown’, a creative co-workspace and business incubator. Her work focuses on building capacity and influencing change through the power of story telling, practical training and skills development, strategic planning and partnerships, and sustainable project design.

Hannah is a community leader locally and nationally, including representing the province as governor with The National Trust for Canada and as champion for Startup Charlottetown, part of the Startup Canada entrepreneurs network.

Publications include:
“Development and Implementation of a Municipal Strategic Performance Management Framework Utilizing the Balanced Scorecard Methodology” October 2011, UPEI Scholar Press
“Validated entrepreneurial self-assessment instrument: A tool for self-evaluation of business-related knowledge, skills, and personal attributes" The Solution Agency, Charlottetown, PE, 2015
"Helping Women Get on TRACK:Building Resiliency Through a Business Mentoring Program for Women Entrepreneurs in Prince Edward Island", Chapter in "From Black Horses to White Steeds: Building Community Resilience" September 2017, Island Studies Press


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Material culture: Square-log cabins in the Village of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

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