The art of showcasing a view

New Oxygène cabins and spruced up playground at Station touristique Duchesnay

In collaboration with Jean-Sébastien Massicotte

When he gazes upon the vast expanses of Lac Saint-Joseph, David Deslauriers is simply blown away by the panoramic view. Inside the hotel, which serves as the heart of Station touristique Duchesnay, the director emphasizes at every turn the view that never fails to charm visitors to the site.

In this regard, revamping the buildings and landscaping on the lakefront right below the hotel was a major challenge indeed. A balance had to be struck between the modern accommodation function of the cabins to be built, the promotion of nearby sports activities, and access to the lake, all without defacing the site or spoiling the view. In short, the view had to be showcased at all costs!

Station touristique Duchesnay Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq

The result? The construction of 14 luminous Oxygène cabins, skillfully integrated into the environment of the resort located in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, a mere 30 minutes from Quebec City. A unique accommodation offer in Duchesnay. "Cabins that are one of a kind," as described by France Laberge, Sépaq’s project manager at the fixed assets and material resources administration.

The architect by profession is well placed to appreciate the project, having been at the centre of decision-making throughout the process of reflection and the work itself. An achievement that the public will be able to enjoy as early as this summer. The 14 two-, three-, and four-bedroom cabins (with an interior surface area of 85 to 225 m2) will be able to accommodate 4 to 16 people and will complete Duchesnay's rental offer in a totally original way.

On the edges of the Oxygène site launched last September at a cost of $8.4 million, the redevelopment initiative is a major undertaking, and a delicate one. Satisfied with the result that can be admired beneath the windows of the hotel, David Deslauriers is categoric; the work as a whole will lead visitors to "see Duchesnay in an entirely different light!"

The new resort residences, with their contemporary design, are a perfect match for the brand new festive sector near the beach inaugurated last summer, after investments of $2.3 million. "The strength of the project lies in its being a whole package," says France Laberge. For her, the experience of the entire site will be "enhanced and renewed."

"That's what's really interesting – the sweeping view from the hotel of the cabins and the lake front," says David Deslauriers.

Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq
Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq
Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq
Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq

Forest memories

"The houses built in the 1950s were no longer adapted to today's needs," says the director about the series of residences that had to be deconstructed to complete the project, remnants of a time when the sector was nicknamed the "little village of Duchesnay," recalls David Deslauriers.

Buildings that were only recently used as accommodations by Sépaq, which has been in charge of the 90 km2 territory since 1999. A series of residences occupied at one time by instructors from the School of Forestry, who had established their quarters on the lakefront back in the day. "A prime location! "as France Laberge describes the setting of the original houses.

A backdrop that was therefore self-evident for the construction of the Oxygène cabins. "Relatively obsolete… not very functional" old houses , as France Laberge describes them, have given way to buildings with much more suitably adapted Nordic and contemporary architecture. "A perfect location for the cabins," says director David Deslauriers, pointing to the new constructions now aligned at regular intervals with a certain flair among the trees along the waterfront.

Indeed, no detail has been spared to capitalize on the charm of the site. First of all, the choice of a lengthier architecture that juts out toward the lake, designed to minimize the obstruction of visitors' view of the water. Then, sloping roofs that are better integrated into the landscape and less massive. Not to mention the alignment of the whole with the current style of the hotel. The meticulous reflection of the professionals at the heart of the Oxygène project is remarkable.

“Challenges galore," says France Laberge. Like harmonizing the new constructions with the topography of the terrain, which slopes down toward the lake. And striking a balance between the comfort offered, the sweeping view to be preserved, and the essential intimacy safeguarded for each of the cabins.

Inside, the same attention to detail will strike vacationers. Expansive, open, and friendly spaces; large windows; the use of warm materials (including wood from Quebec); a gas fireplace; air conditioning; large cozy beds; full bathrooms; a washer and dryer... In short, cabin life has never been so well thought out!

Notwithstanding all of the highlighted amenities and the top-notch quality of the construction, France Laberge does not see this as an excess of luxury. "We sought simplicity," says the project manager about what she describes more as "comfort cabins."

Guests will also be reminded of the forest vocation of the site, for David Deslauriers realized that he could draw upon an amazing discovery: a collection of period photos from the time of the School of Forestry that will be showcased on the walls of the cabins, telling the story of the past, from the 1930s to the 1970s, at Duchesnay.

Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq
Station touristique Duchesnay
Station touristique Duchesnay Simon Clark | © Sépaq

A renewed and diversified experience

Close to each cabin, on its grounds, there will be a fire zone and facilities for outdoor meals. And only a few steps away, all the activities and services of the new festive sector, where active and contemplative pursuits will blend to perfection.

An expanded beach, a volleyball court, two children's playgrounds, a slackline zone, a sodded lawn, a rock climbing wall, a long floating dock, a new nautical equipment rental centre (including paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats) and a mobile food court will be at the heart of the renewed experience.

“So many spaces designed to offer a variety of experiences to different types of vacationers," says France Laberge. “Families and business clients alike will find what they’re looking for.”

From the dormitory with bunk beds to allow for intergenerational stays, to the multiple storage areas designed for workers attending conferences who want to feel right at home – everything has been put in place for a totally satisfactory experience, whatever the reason for the visit.

Looking forward to welcoming the first visitors to discover the Oxygène cabin experience, David Deslauriers is already imagining himself in summer when the entire site on the edge of the lake will be buzzing with all kinds of vacationers. A walk along the water is at the top of the director’s agenda. "I can't wait to see the view of the cabins and the hotel from the lake!"

Jean-Sébastien Massicotte

About Jean-Sébastien Massicotte

A journalist by training and an all-around sports enthusiast, Jean-Sébastien never misses a chance to step up to the plate for a good story. A columnist, photographer, and adventure content creator now based in Quebec City, this Abitibi native has been an outdoor reporter since 2011. Jean-Sébastien collaborates notably with the magazine Espaces.

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