New Mendel Guides book focuses on Charlevoix

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Photographer Luc-Antoine Couturier, authors David Mendel and François Tremblay and publisher Sylvain Harvey proudly launched the latest book in the Mendel Guides series – Charlevoix: A Tradition of Hospitality. Co-author Judy Boss was not present at the launch.

    David Mendel, president of Mendel Tours, along with fellow authors François Tremblay and Judy Bross, launched a new book in the Mendel Guides series. Charlevoix: A Tradition of Hospitality explores the summer resort life of the La Malbaie sector of the Charlevoix region of Quebec, and takes readers on a vicarious tour of secret gardens and hidden properties.       At the launch, held at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity on June 20, Mendel spoke about the tradition of hospitality of Charlevoix and the pleasure he had working with his fellow authors and photographer Luc-Antoine Couturier.

   The 128-page book is divided into 16 chapters, the first of which, “A Heaven-Sent Landscape,” explains the unique geological past of the area, which was struck by a meteorite some 350 million years ago.   

  Mendel continues with fascinating chapters about the history of La Malbaie (known as Murray Bay by les anglais) as a resort destination stretching back over 200 years. Historical photographs and reproductions of works of art enrich the pages.

Many affluent Americans and prominent Canadians spent their summers at their cottages along the St. Lawrence River from 1880s to the 1930s. Murray Bay’s most eminent summer visitor was William Howard Taft, president (1909-1913) and chief justice of the Supreme Court (1921-1930) of the United States.

   A whole chapter is devoted to the Manoir Richelieu, opened in 1929, which recently hosted world leaders, including the current American president, at the G7 Summit.

The guide continues with chapters about the art of living in 13 different exclusive summer cottages, ending with the most famous of all, Les Quatre Vents, the home of the Cabot family since the early 1900s.

   The late Frank Cabot (1925-2011), described in The Globe and Mail as a “patrician U.S. financier and self-taught horticulturalist,” designed and maintained 32 distinct gardens which extend over eight hectares. Open to visitors by reservation only a few times a year, the world-famous gardens and their creator were featured in the 2017 documentary The Gardener.

   Mendel has written four guidebooks devoted to the history and cultural heritage of Quebec City, the first of which was published in 2009 by Les Éditions Sylvain Harvey, in collaboration with La Commission de la Capitale Nationale du Québec. Quebec: World Heritage City (2009), Quebec, Birthplace of New France (2012), The Seminary of Quebec: A Living Heritage (2013) and The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (2015) are all richly illustrated with photographs by Couturier and are available in both English and French.