Hidden Gems – Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain: A Not So Hidden Gem
Named perhaps for blue grey rocky out cropping’s of shale or the hue taken on by the hills depending on the angle of the sun’s rays, Blue Mountain has attracted both young and old for decades. Originally the territory of the Anishnaabek, Haudenosaunee and Wendat peoples, this land is now shared with and enjoyed by people the world over.
The history of Blue Mountain is an interesting one. Since the 1930’s , the Niagara Escarpment had been being developed as a skiing area. During this time, the Toronto Ski Club and the Blue Mountain Ski Club (later called the Collingwood Ski Club) made full use of the slopes. It wasn’t until 1941 that the spot was established as an actual ski resort by Slovakian immigrant Jozo Weider and his business partner Peter Campbell, a Toronto lawyer with prior Collingwood business interests. The pair had originally met when Jozo was a ski instructor in Quebec where Peter had shared his hopes and dreams of further developing a ski culture in the Collingwood area or more specifically, the Blue Mountains.
With Peter by his side, Jozo turned a farmer’s barn into a lodge and built chair lifts out of scraps of steel found on the property. The ski barn was a happening place with accommodations, a cafeteria featuring home grown food and entertainment. In 1948, Jozo persuaded the ski clubs to give him a 999 year lease for the parts of the Niagara Escarpment they controlled. They consolidated the operation under Blue Mountain Resorts.
Jozo continued to expand and improve summer and winter experiences ensuring to involve and hire local farming families. Sadly, Jozo passed away in 1971 in a tragic car accident. His family, led by his son-in-law Gord Canning continued to expand adding ski lifts, installing snow makers and building the Blue Mountain Inn. In 2000 expansion soared with the building of the Blue Mountain Village at the base of
the hills. Today the European styled Village at Blue offers something for everyone.
In the winter, enjoy the 42 multi-levelled ski runs and 3 freestyle terrains suitable for skiers and snowboarders alike. Hiking and tubing are also popular family pastimes. Snowshoeing trails abound and ice skating opportunities can be found winding through the forest at the top of the mountain or at the bottom on the Millpond. More of a watcher than a participant? No worries.
There are a number of skiing, boarding and freestyle competitions hosted at Blue. After a full day on the slopes or engaging in winter activities, why not enjoy a hot chocolate, adult bevvie or tasty meal at one of the cozy restaurants, cafes or pubs within the village.
In the summer, spend some time on the green at Monterra Golf or the Mini Putt. Mountain biking is very popular at this time of year as well as in the fall. Want to push your comfort levels? Give ziplining, rock climbing or the low and high ropes courses a try. Head over to the pond for a ride in a paddle boat or canoe. Summer screams festival and outdoor entertainment time. Keep your eyes peeled for live musical acts, movies under the stars and weekend events such as Salsa at Blue.
Year round activities include Monterra Tennis, Plunge! (an indoor/out door water park), Ridge Runner (think roller coaster) and caving. Not up for vigorous pursuits, book some spa time. There is a spa on site as well as Le Scandinave just down the road. Beyond the village, there are also so many wonderful country roads and villages to explore in the Grey-Bruce area that won’t disappoint.
The Village at Blue offers a plethora of opportunities for fun and adventure with friends and family. Build some memories. Try new things. Test your limits. See you at Blue!