Hall of Famer
Charles E. Mortureux
The history and development of the Ottawa Ski Club (OSC), at one time one of the largest in the world, as well as the founding of organized skiing in the Gatineau region north of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is inseparable from the name of C. E. Mortureux.
Originally founded in 1910, the OSC’s early activities centred on ski jumping in Rockcliffe Park just a short distance from Canada’s Parliament buildings. It flourished until 1915 when World War l intervened to induct many of the club’s male members into the army. For four years it languished until, in 1919, it was reorganized and incorporated in 1919. C.E. “Mort” Mortureux became its first president, a position he would hold for an extraordinary 27 years until 1946. Such was his reputation and ability that nobody dared challenge him. The importance of his contribution even in the early stages of the OSC’s development was clearly recognized in a letter sent out to the members on February 10, 1922:
The extraordinary development of the Ottawa Ski Club during the last few years, and in particular this year, is patent not only to members but also to the public. This development meant thought, work – incessant work- on the part of the Committee, That such development has been achieved, without hitch or mishap, means that somewhere there is a tireless intelligence watching over general plans and details. These things simply do not happen.
Many members of the Committee have done, and are doing, yeoman service, but those in a position to judge. agree that our President C. E. Mortureux, is the brain and backbone of the whole affair. If it were not for his constant thought, care and work, even manual labour, the Club would be something far different, if at all in existence, from what it is today…
(Herbert Marshall, History of the Ottawa Ski Club)
The Club and the Gatineau region would continue to benefit from his energy and ability to inspire others for many more years, as did the Canadian Amateur Ski Association, later the Canadian Ski Association, in which he served as Vice-President.
In an article contributed by Baron Harold Eeman, Ambassador for Belgium, in the OSC Year Book of 1957-58:
…On Saturdays he laid the course for the Sunday races, and we followed him over it, often gruelling work. It took Mort’s driving power, his persuasive art, and his unfailing example to induce us to go over the course once more so that the trail might be smoother and give all competitors an even chance. We were exhausted on those Saturday evenings…
Now Mort’s vital impulse and the steady devotion of those who came after him have borne fruit; happy, colourful crowds invade and enjoy the Gatineau Hills. There are handsome lodges, rope tows and T-Bars…Let all those happy people remember the man to whom more than any other they owe the exhilaration of the hills and trails and warm relaxation of the lodges. Indeed Mort’s name is not forgotten; nearby a hill still bears it. I wish it were a mountain peak. (Herbert Marshall, History of the OSClub)
In 1950, three years after his death, a cairn was erected at Camp Fortune, Quebec, home of the OSC. It bears the following inscription:
To the Memory of Charles Edmund Mortureux
President Ottawa Ski Club 1919-1947
His Work Endures in the Gatineau Hills
Source: Most of the information in this biography is taken from Herbert Marshall’s book, History of the Ottawa Ski Club.
Please Note: The ski information gathered here is compiled from a number of sources; it may not be inclusive of all accomplishments.
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Five prominent figures who helped form the Canadian Amateur Ski Association (CASA) [L to R]: Charles Mortureux (President Ottawa Ski Club), Champlain Provencher (President Club de Ski Mont Royal d’Amerique), Ted Devlin (President Cliffside Ski Club), H.P. Douglas (President Montreal Ski Club & Canadian Amateur Ski Association), R.W. Russell (President Quebec Ski Club). National Archives C. 34041
Prominent members & workers of Ottawa Ski Club. [L to R]: J.C. Leslie, John P. Taylor, Ted Laflamme, George McHugh, Kay Laroque Bernier, C.E. Mortureux. Camp Fortune, QC. c. 1940. CSHFM Collection.
Charles Mortureux – far left. CSHFM Collection.