Morin-Heights (population of about 3700 people) is a famous resort in the Laurentians’ Pays-d'en-Haut County.
Before 1850, only few Indian hunters occasionally visited this area. When Government minister Augustin-Norbert Morin came to survey the place, he found the place suitable for colonization. He agreed to help people to settle there and even bought some land in the area. The same year, the first permanent settlers, three Seale brothers from Connaught, Ireland, arrived.
The brothers were followed by newcomers from Ireland and Scotland and by French Canadians. Having suffered numerous hardships, early settlers managed to eke out a living from the rocky soil. In the beginning, the only cash they earned came from potash made by burning felled trees. Soon, however, a few grist mills and sawmills were established at Morin-Flats–this was the first name of the village.
For quite some time, lumbering was the base of the local economy because the sawmills along the Simon River gave jobs to many inhabitants. Opened in 1895, the railway brought a lot of changes to the village: vacationers began to build cottages on the shores of the nearby lakes. In 1911, the village decided to change its name from Morin Flats to a more appealing Morin Heights. In the 1930s, skiing became very popular in North America, and every weekend, trains brought hundreds of tourists to Morin-Heights, where new boarding houses were built. In 1962, though, as more people owned cars and the Laurentian Highway was built, the railway disappeared.
Many people moved to Morin Heights in the 1960s, when young American deserters, opposed to the Vietnam War, fled the U.S. The town became more cosmopolitan and has since been famous for its music and art. Since 1981, many ski trails, cycling paths, and the Ski Morin Heights Station has been opened, which made the area an even more popular tourist destination. Nowadays, guests are offered the Cross-Country Ski Centre, the Aerobic Corridor–a 58-kilometer-long (36 mi) trail, the Viking Ski Club, the Morin Heights Viking Loppet Club, the Coureurs Des Bois Club, the Balmoral Golf Club, and the Morin-Heights Football Club. Morin-Heights is home to Laurentian Regional Soccer Association. It also boasts the Museum of Ski.
Please note than each year in mid-July the local Historical Society organizes a “Homes & Gardens” tour of the village of Morin-Heights, an opportunity to discover some hidden gems of the community.