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Val-David and the Butte

In the 1940s, the economy of Val-David began to turn resolutely towards tourism. Local hotels had to meet a growing demand from outdoors enthusiasts. Snowshoeing, skiing, hiking and water sports attracted an ever-growing clientele. The days passed quickly, but in the evenings, after admiring the shooting stars, there was not much to do…

Group of three posters showing skiers drawn in gleaming colours on white snow in various poses.

Promotion of winter sports in the Laurentians


Folks went to bed early in Val-David, until the day Gilles Mathieu opens his boîte à chanson in the heart of the village! From then on, everything changed and while for many, it was for the best, not everyone in the village agreed!

“… when they saw Armand Vaillancourt arrive with his big coat and huge beard, they said: “there are beatniks at the Butte!” And some parents stopped their children from coming.”

Old postcard showing the façade of Auberge La Paysanne in Val-David. A sign on the facade reads “La Paysanne, room and board.”


At the time, a sign on all the posts in Val-David indicated the limits of propriety: “No shorts. No bathing suits. No indecent dress.” On rue de    l’Église, a policeman was in charge of enforcing the rules. Beards and long hair, miniskirts and flowery blouses offended local sensibilities, creating opposition to change.

Black and white photo of an old delivery truck from the 1930s with signs on it indicating the way to La Butte.

It’s this way!