The ski mountain was founded by an Ottawa group in 1970. The original few trails were serviced by 2 T bars located where the Solar lift is today. A two seat chair lift was installed in 1976. The original buildings were modest– a portion of the current base lodge (still in operation) and a small snowmaking facility that has since been torn down.
The mountain was acquired by Harold Murphy and investors in 1982. This group expanded the business in phases. In the mid 1980s, the first onsite accommodations were built. The base lodge was expanded and a new mechanical garage was constructed on Calabogie Road. In 1986, the ski business acquired the golf course and waterfront property. At the time of acquisition; it was a wetland. The wetland was reclaimed to form the beautiful shoreline and boat docking facilities that exist today. The waterfront was a major strategic step in the transformation of the ski business into a four season resort.
The next phase of growth occurred in 2000 and 2001 when the Resort replaced all of the ski lifts. Two new Dopplemayr quad chairlifts and a magic carpet lift were installed. This phase of growth included the creation of a new novice ski area called the beginner bowl.
The largest phase of growth occurred in 2004 when Calabogie Peaks Hotel, a boutique hotel, and the Cedars condominiums were constructed. This transformed the business into a 24/7 four season destination resort. These expansion launched the Resort’s entry into the wedding and conference business; which are now one of the Resort’s two core businesses.
The most recent phase of growth began in 2009 when the Resort installed a new snowmaking system and redesigned the mountain trails.
The new snowmaking system uses SMI patented Fan Guns, which are the leading technology in the snowmaking industry. The new snowmaking system has been a great success and has already been expanded twice – in 2010 and 2011. Calabogie Peaks has developed the reputation of “the snowmaking capital of the Ottawa-Gatineau region”. Calabogie is synonymous with guaranteed snow and ‘no ice’.
The redesign of the mountain has opened numerous new trails; and expanded existing trails. Calabogie is the only regional ski business that owns vast mountain terrain for future expansion – only 50% of the mountain has been developed. Calabogie introduces new terrain and snowmaking each year to bring skiers and riders something interesting, new and fresh.
The Peaks reflects the log term vision and passion of Harold Murphy who passed away in 2011. The company remains under the ownership and direction of Harold’s family.
During the mid to late 1800s, the Calabogie area was one of the most sought after places for commercial lumbering. The giant forests of New Brunswick and Maine had been depleted and the Ottawa Valley was ripe for the picking. With the population in Upper Canada growing, the need for building supplies was exploding. Also, the British Navy used the tall and straight white pines, unequalled in quality, as masts for its many ships.
The Government supported development by building slides and booms and ultimately power dams at strategic points along the river. These enhancements turned the Madawaska River into a super highway that carried the pride of the forest to the Ottawa River. The French and Irish lumberjacks, or shanty men, were a breed of their own, working the wildest of weather, harsh forest conditions and the wild white water. When the spring run off started surging and swelling the banks of many rivers, the dangerous and demanding job of routing logs down rivers promised a thrilling yet sometimes deadly job.
Calabogie Lake, a widening of the Madawaska River created by dams at either end of the lake, became a holding and sorting station for the logs before they were floated down to the Ottawa River and on to a multitude of locations including across the Atlantic.
Just west of Calabogie was the site of Canada’s most important graphite mine. The Black Donald Graphite Mine, which was discovered in 1889, did not actually start producing until 1895. By 1927, having increased output during the First World War, the mine was producing 90% of Canada’s graphite. The mine continued to produce sporadically until the next World War. In 1954, the production slowed and the mine was flooded about fifteen years later.
“Calabogie” is believed to be Gaelic for marsh or bogs, has a long and rich history in the lumber and mining industries.
What does the future hold for Calabogie Peaks?
Watch for residential homes and townhomes to be constructed at the resort. Calabogie Peaks is the only resort in the Ottawa-Gatineau region with a mountain village and community. As Ottawa grows west toward Calabogie, the Resort offers the unique venue of a recreation based residential community within an hour’s drive of the nation’s capital.
The combination of the ski mountain and lake, one hour from Ottawa, makes Calabogie truly unique.