History of The Blue Mountains

Home > History > History of The Blue Mountains

 It was the spring of 1883 when Charles Rankin was sent to survey the “Wild Land” beyond the Simcoe district.  After establishing a log house for himself in what is now known as Lora Bay, Rankin proceeded to plant a large garden of potatoes west, near the “Blue Hills”, now named the Blue Mountains.  The area he landed and settled upon was later referred to as Rankin’s Landing.  The first potato harvest in 1834 brought in approximately 100 bushels of potatoes; which would have been excellent provisions for the long winter ahead.

Richard McGuire was the next to settle in Rankin’s Landing and would have been a welcome sight to the solitary Charles Rankin.  Mr. McGuire, a native of Ireland, settled upon land he received as a wedding present from his wife’s father who was an ex British soldier.  One hundred acres of land in the newly surveyed district was deeded to military veterans, although; most men sold or deeded their land to others.  The first white child to be born in the area was Charles McGuire (1837), son to Richard and his wife. The third settler to Rankin’s Landing was Mr. Herman Hurlburt who arrived with his family in 1847.  During the same year, George Holdship arrived with his family, as well as, Mr. James Stephens.  As Charles Rankin had finished his surveying, a new owner to Rankin’s Landing was found in his cousin Major Charles Stewart, who served in the British Army and lived in America before the war of Emancipation.  Mr. Stewart was a passionate abolitionist and believed slavery to be unjust.  He attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in June of 1840 and wrote numerous anti-slavery pamphlets.  Naming Lora Bay after his birthplace in Ireland, Mr. Stewart kept several hundred acres of property and was hospitable to new settlers of the area.  His large log cabin served as a resting place for early settlers when they first docked at Lora Bay.

In 1839 a man by the name of Brazier settled west of what we now called Craigleith.  George Lunan was the next to call Craigleith home, which was given its Scottish name by Mr Andrew Fleming who arrived in 1855.  Mr. Fleming, as well as his wife and younger children were persuaded to immigrate by their eldest sons, David and Sandford, who had been living in Canada since 1845. After settling in with his family, Mr. Fleming built a spacious home at the Base of the Blue Mountains, with gables that rose above treetops and eloquent hand carved stairs.  Andrew Fleming’s son, Sir Sandford Fleming, is most notably known for proposing worldwide standard time zones, designing the first Canadian stamp – the Threepenny Beaver, surveying the first rail route across Canada, in addition to, advocating for the Trans-Pacific telegraph cable.The Town of the Blue Mountains was formed in 2001 when Thornbury and the Township of Collingwood were amalgamated.

History of Blue Mountain Resort

One of the biggest draws to our area is the Village at Blue. But, very few people know the history about how Blue Mountain started. It’s important to learn about how Blue Mountain and Village at Blue got started in order to truly understand why it’s such a successful tourist attraction.Blue Mountain was started by Czechoslovakian born Jozo Weider, who opened the ski resort in 1941. It was much different back then and as the years progressed, many changes were done to help the condition of the skiing. However, Jozo passed away in 1971 and never got to see what the mountain turned into.

When Jozo died, his son and son in law took over the company and through their decisions, they eventually transformed the mountain into what it is today. Jozo always wanted the resort to become a place for a four seasons vacation and his dream was always kept in mind when changes and additions were made to the mountain. The additions of water parks and Monterra Golf helped to create the idea of Blue Mountain being a four season resort, but some of the biggest changes occurred when Intrawest bought 50% of the company’s shares in 1999.

With the addition of Intrawest to the Blue Mountain Corporation, Blue Mountain was able to transform into the tourist attraction we have come to know. Intrawest purchased the 32 acres at the base of the mountain and have turned it into the “Village at Blue”. Modeled to the base of Tremblent with an “Old Ontario Era” of architecture, the Village at Blue has accommodations and commercial spaces for tourists and locals to enjoy.On September 12th, 2014, Intrawest purchased the remaining shares from the Weider Family and now owns 100% of the company. Blue Mountain is now very different from when Jozo opened it in 1941 and this purchase will continue to transform Blue Mountain.  From upgrading the technology for snow making to commercializing the Village at Blue, Blue Mountain has now become one of the best ski resorts in Ontario. There is a lot to do at Blue Mountain, even if you don’t ski or snowboard, so go check it out!