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Rose Lachance (1894–1986)

Black and white archival portrait photo of Rose Lachance. Her grey hair is done up in a bun, and she is wearing oval-shaped eyeglasses.

Rose Lachance

Summer 1949 marked the beginning of a new adventure for Rose Lachance and her husband, Achille. Their brand-new hotel not far from the village of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, on Rang Saint-Nicolas, was ready to welcome its very first guests. Despite the financial risks, Rose wasn’t afraid to invest her money to make the inn an attractive holiday destination. While there were a few construction hiccups along the way, she was convinced that the beautiful site would delight holiday-goers from Québec City in search of fresh air and a break from the hustle-bustle of the city. In addition to the main log lodge, guests could stay at one of the small cabins scattered around a man-made lake where they could swim and paddle about in rowboats. Many a happy memory was made there!

Black and white archival photo of a large group gathered in front of Auberge du Lac. The guests are seated or standing in five lines, and they include members of the clergy, young children, women, and men. The log building behind them stands two storeys tall. The upper floor has a wooden balcony from which a decorative banner hangs.

Main lodge of Auberge du Lac, c. 1958

 

For Rose Lachance, Auberge du Lac was just the beginning. In order to guarantee long-term employment for her staff and family, she needed to ensure her guests would enjoy an unforgettable holiday. So, from Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24) to late October, the employees worked seven days a week. Under Rose’s firm guidance, they organized dances and receptions where accordion music would ring out from one end of the lake to the other!

Black and white archival photo showing a three-storey, gable-roofed hotel. The main façade boasts a balcony and a veranda, and there is a solarium on the ground floor.

The Lachance couple’s first hotel

And that wasn’t all! Rose also had several other businesses, including the general store in Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges that she and her husband had owned since the 1930s. The store was managed by their nephew Philippe, and they also added a six-room hotel and a restaurant to it.

Black and white archival photo depicting an elderly Rose Lachance wearing a cap, a knit cardigan, a skirt, and rubber boots. She is holding up a dead hare in her left hand. She is standing next to a vehicle, and in the background we can see fields and hills.

Rose, with a hare in hand

While the business sector at that time tended to be a man’s world, Rose Lachance was a woman of action and a born leader, and she wasn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Who could have guessed that the seventh of eight children born on a farm, who married a milkman from l’Île-aux-Grues, would become a trailblazing and enlightened businesswoman? Rose Lachance set out to make her mark and create a vacation tradition in her native village.                                                                               And she did just that!

Today, Château-Richer looks back at… a pioneering entrepreneur and the holiday-goers who passed through the village of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges on their way to enjoy Auberge du Lac and the pure air of the countryside.