La Pommerie is a family naturist center that has existed for more than 40 years.
As it is practiced in La Pommerie, naturism is a way of life characterized by nudity in common, guarantor of respect for oneself, that of others, and care for the environment. It is a place of relaxation that allows to regenerate away from urban stress.
In this haven of rest one feels safe, because the mutual visual gift of nudity generates a natural reserve and a trust in the other with whom one shares values, a process of self-acceptance, a shared vulnerability and the same simple happiness of being reconciled with natural agents.
At La Pommerie, music and radio are inaudible in the immediate surroundings. No loudspeaker disturbs the birds singing, wether to call someone or send messages to everyone; we are free from commercial solicitations like advertising.
La Pommerie has been designed so that families – as much as single people – feel comfortable and safe with their children, and can enjoy a rich and welcoming nature. It is in these conditions that creativity flourishes and that the reflection on the unique way of life shared by naturists is maintained.
History of La Pommerie
By Michel Vaïs
La Pommerie was founded in 1976 by a veterinarian of French origin, Jean-Marcel Boucher. He gave this vast orchard surrounded by sugar bushes the name of the property he had owned so far on Île-d’Orléans. Director of UNICEF in Quebec, then, working for Agriculture Canada, this former senior official, who had also rolled his hump in Africa where he founded for the CIDA University Polytechnic Abomey-Calavi in Dahomey (Benin), Since then, he has stubbornly spent his summers giving shape to the magnificent project he had dreamed of. He was a man of vision, of heart and courage, obstinate, who did not hesitate to work late at night or at dawn to clean the sanitary blocks or empty garbage cans: there is no stupid business , he said. The soul of La Pommerie was him. Ecologist first and guided by a keen sense of aesthetics, he amazed inspectors of campsites by providing a vast empty space – forbidden to cars – only to offer a breathtaking view of the old farmhouses restored.
Jean-Marcel knew how to surround himself with volunteers. To name a few refers to numerous happy memories that are so many pages in the history of the Pommerie. From the very beginning, even during the pre-opening summer of 1975, Raymond, Denise, the sculptor Jean-Yves, Monique, Louis, Micheline and many others were there to revamp the old buildings of the farm that were going become the “village”, turn them into a restaurant, a little café (the current Auberge), a community center. Guided by the project to make this place an oasis for naturists, we dig a pool, we settle everywhere between the 1200 or so apple trees, we clear the woods between the pool and the lake, which will be called “The Cedars “We dry up swamps, we carry rocks to build walls, we sow grass, we even trace a trail of hebertism in the woods. From the first year, the community garden is landscaped. Sometimes, the cows of the neighboring farm invade … Then arrives Françoise Giresse, who becomes the faithful companion of Jean-Marcel. She began to make rockeries of flowers, supported by the unremitting Pierre Montpetit (called Pierre-de-la-Rocaille), expert in dry walls, that is to say, without any mortar .
For his part, in 1976, Michel Vaïs with Jany Hogue, installed a caravan in the orchard, where the layout was easy. It was in the MacIntosh (which would be followed by the Lobos and Melbas five years later). The following year, inspired by the pioneers of the Cèdres district, they moved on ungrateful but south-facing grounds, where brambles and rocks reigned, and where 23 trees had to be planted to isolate themselves from the road. Other campers had more rustic equipment: tents and trailer tents were numerous. One member, however, aroused curiosity by arranging a large inflatable bubble in front of the pool. We entered through an airlock.
The Pommerie already buzzed with activity. Roland organized the systems of telephones, sound, cinema (we owe him the disco, or Cosmos Room); Guy “Les Oiseaux” offered dawn observation walks and presented slideshows accompanied by sound recordings from his discoveries; André Morency took care of the Cinnamon shop, where Catherine’s clothes were presented among others. Each season began with a parade of his creations. Jean-Marcel, always in love with animals, had built a “mini-farm” where rabbits and poultry made the joy of children. One summer, the goats of the cheese dairy Blue Ribbon of Saint-Isidore spent their summer holidays to “clean” the ground where were going to be arranged the tennis. At the end of each season, came back the “People’s Market” and the corn roast at the old sugar shack, far down the gravel pit. Jean-Marc Charron was the great animator. In the first year, Gilles Beauchamp and Roxane built a bread oven. It was Robert, a doctor, who spent a whole week acting as a maneuver to prepare the mortar, incognito …
It was the time when specialists of wild plants and mycologists from the SAJIB (Société d’animation du Jardin and the Montreal Botanical Institute) were invited to introduce us to the flora of La Pommerie. The picking ended with exhibitions and delicious meals with wild mushrooms.
How not to evoke the restaurant? If several cooks followed one another (Marco and Suzanne, Denis and his children, Therese, Nicole and Marcel …), the most memorable was undoubtedly Bruno. While his daughter and son-in-law – Michèle and Michel – were the dépanneur, this restaurateur, former owner of a well-known Parisian restaurant highlighting the cuisine of his region – Toulouse – managed to offer dishes so elaborate that amateurs of Fine cuisine made the trip from Montreal on Saturday night to come feast, willing to add the entrance fee to the price – very reasonable – of the meal.
In 1977, with France and Daniel (exceptional photographer), Michel Vaïs gathered a dozen people interested in participating in urban naturist activities during the winter. This was the origin of the Quebec Federation of Naturism, with which it was possible since 1979 to organize sports evenings at Cegep de Maisonneuve, and even a first winter trip to Guadeloupe. A newsletter provided a means of communication among the members. The FQN was quickly recognized by the Regroupement Loisir Québec, which welcomed it at the Olympic Stadium (where it still lodges), and by the International Naturist Federation. Several FQN stands in trade shows (Camping, Leisure, Youth, Golden Age …) have allowed dozens of volunteers to promote the naturist centers, including the Pommerie. FQN’s relations with the media have amplified this new visibility. A discreet white plaque, on one of the outer posts of the Inn, indicates the place where the Federation was founded. Seven years after the FQN, it was the founding of the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN), which organized the Canadian Naturist Festival at La Pommerie in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
In July 1978, a renowned journalist and writer made the front page of L’actualité magazine with her article “Les ghettos du soleil”, which gives readers an irrepressible desire to (discover) La Pommerie. Many other journalists, such as Pierre Foglia, subsequently responded to our invitation to visit us. Not to mention the personalities who came without fanfare and whose anonymity is important to respect. So, over the years, I’ve been playing volleyball with a famous popular singer, meeting a TV journalist – who has become a member of Parliament – or talking in the shower with a well-known actress.
A new era
La Pommerie was sold in 1995 to about fifteen members. Later, Gilles Beauchamp became the main owner, buying the shares of the others. The transition years were crucial. Despite difficult and unproductive seasons, it was necessary to assure the members that they would keep their little piece of paradise. The plantation of the vineyard at the new limit of the Pommerie, orchestrated by Gilles shortly before the sale, constituted a leap of faith in the future. The arrival of the horses of some members, then those of Gilles Provencher, also animated a ground behind the vineyard, while offering to all a point of interest and a new activity. Let us salute some other essential names in the history of the Pommerie: Jacques, Louise and Yvon for their courage and energy in times of doubt; Denis and Pierre-Yves for the layout of the billiard room (where the restaurant was previously nested) and the construction of the cottages; Louise, Claire (whose street bears the name) and Caro for their dedication as directors; Louis-Roland Lavallée for his leisure organization …
It is worth mentioning other essential elements that have made La Pommerie what it has become: many loyal members who have tinted the activities of their strong presence. Massage Therapist Carole, then relieved by Diane, and their assistants from the health store; Normand Marchand, head of softball, Diane, priestess of tennis, Jean Lafontaine for the direction of volleyball, Denis Rousseau for his work on the website for several years, Donald (the inventor of a popular strong cooking plate) and Arthur (dean of the Pommerie, with the voice of stentor), Maurice Grenier, Réjean, Françoise for the “Neuronanu”, the pillars of the petanque, Louis for the computerization of the naturist center, the sound systems, the construction, troubleshooting, repairs, wireless internet and the initiative of the first yurt, and how many others have marked the Pommerie by their sustained participation in community life! Five have also received a gold medal from Gilles Beauchamp for their outstanding contribution: Maurice Grenier, Michel Vais, Jean Lafontaine, Louis, Denis Rousseau.
Over the years, with aging baby boomers, tents and teepees have been replaced by larger and more comfortable caravans. Babies have become parents, parents have become grandparents. To the hairdresser Maurice Lalonde succeeded his son Denis, who appeared on the logo of La Pommerie, in the heart of the apple, with his baby son Vincent. The new neighborhood of Boisé was built in 1995, a billiard room replaced the first restaurant and the home of the convenience store, under the dormitory, became the room for processing and tasting wines. The swimming pools are now greener, with salt water. Gilles Provencher created the Aperitif musical, Françoise’s rockeries are now taken care of by dozens of passionate volunteers under the rule of Marielle. Dozens of apple trees have been adopted by members. Arbours were built over the terrace of the restaurant, later between the pools. Long grass everywhere has become lawn. The ice storm, which threw more than 10,000 trees on the ground, was quickly “digested” thanks to eight days of hard work by the members (the number of volunteers fluctuated between 25 and 68 during these chores). Jeanne and Jean-Pierre, who have participated in all these chores, have, for 15 years, spent several thousand hours slaughtering, chopping, chopping and stringing the wood.
How not to highlight also the choir animated by France, the many competitions of sand castles of Carole, the fireworks of the Délicieuses, the beach-party of Robert, the billards of Claudette and Mathilde, the treasure hunts, the evenings halloween, rallies and mechouis of lamb, ostrich, suckling pig and other wild boars which animated our Gallic or medieval festivals. Gilles Bouchard excelled as chief cook and orchestrator of the bustle, with the help of Bernard and Yvon said the Vulcan, who fed the cooking fires. With them, the pleasure is always at the rendezvous.
Finally, among the novelties at La Pommerie, note that she now houses the Documentation and Archive Center set up by Vincent Pigeon, with the support of the Naturist Foundation of Quebec. Thus, history will continue to occupy a place in a bright future.
Robert and Carole are preparing for the Pommerie Olympics, while a yurt is already announcing some evolution of the first tee-pees.
Through its 40 years of history, La Pommerie remains today a vibrant and innovative place that cultivates a pleasant human environment. La Pommerie, one of the most beautiful naturist center in America, still stands out today for its constant quest for quality of life based on exchange, respect and contact with nature. Just like the first day, the involvement of its members is its heart. La Pommerie invites you to continue the tradition by making it a place of expression and fulfillment where everyone contributes in its own way to make it a better place to live for oneself and for others, … in less than an hour away from Montreal. ”