Père Marcel de la Sablonnière


Père Marcel de la Sablonnière 1918-1999

1988 Social Social

Born in Montréal on May 21, 1918, Father Marcel De la Sablonnière studied at the Séminaire de Sainte-Thérèse, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1937. In September of the same year, he entered the Jesuit novitiate. In 1943, he obtained his licence in philosophy from the Scolasticat de l'Immaculée-Conception and in 1950, his licence in theology.

In 1946, while overseeing sports at Collège Sainte-Marie, Father De la Sablonnière founded the Intercollegiate Hockey League. He served as the director of the Immaculate Conception Recreation Centre from its opening in September 1951. In 1962, he was made a member of the first National Advisory Council on Fitness and Amateur Sport for a four-year term. He founded the Association canadienne des centres de loisirs in December 1962. In May 1962, he opened the P'tit Bonheur youth hostel, which later saw the additions of the Jeune-Air summer camp, the Foyer du skieur and the Gîte Familial. The Le P'tit Bonheur outdoor recreational area has seen major growth, with 1400 acres of land and 412 beds. In the spring of 1962 and the fall of 1963, Father De la Sablonnière launched major events to promote the outdoors, in the form of the Camping and Family show and the Montréal International Winter Sports show, which would later take place at Place Bonaventure.

In summer 1962, Father De la Sablonnière was appointed director of the Canadian Olympic Association and in 1969 elected the association’s vice-chair and chair of its technical committee. He was made director of the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada in April 1965, becoming its vice chair in 1966. Beginning in 1964, he was a member of the International Recreation Association, quickly becoming a director and later its vice chair. He joined forces with Québec’s Claude Michel in the spring of 1969 to help found a new vacation club, Horizons du Monde. He was elected to the first executive of the new Confédération des sports du Québec in 1969, and beginning in 1973, he was one of the Canadian Olympic Association delegates to the Varna Olympic Congress, where he was appointed a member of the working group to study the findings of the Congress. He then took part in the Congresses every two years, up to the Baden-Baden Congress in 1981. The Canadian Olympic Association and the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXI Olympiad appointed him to represent Canada at the Olympic flame handover ceremony in Greece. He was appointed chef de mission for the Canadian team at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games. He was elected senior vice-president of the International Federation of Sport Movies and Television in Turin, Italy, in October 1983. Among other international sport film festivals, Father De la Sablonnière took part in the first International Olympic Film Festival in Tunis in April 1987.

The honours Father De la Sablonnière has received include the Order of Canada, an honorary doctorate from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, the Humanitas trophy and the Jean-Louis Lévesque Foundation merit award. Father De la Sablonnière sat on many boards of directors and for more than 25 years was invited to speak across the province on young people, their problems and their needs. He was made a member of the academy of Great Montrealers in 1988.

Source: Ordre national du Québec

Photo Crédit : Fondation Père Sablon