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Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

The Village Vacances Valcartier recreational tourism complex, flagship of the Quebec region, as well as Calypso Park in Ottawa, have been sold to American interests for the sum of $179 million, learned The newspaper.

The family business, established in the region since 1963, was acquired in a sale that was completed on Thursday.

The megatransaction includes the entire Calypso-Valcartier group: the Village Vacances Valcartier (VVV) water park and winter games center, the Bora Parc, the Valcartier Hotel, the Campground, the Ice Hotel, as well as the Calypso Park in Ottawa, the largest aquatic complex in Canada.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

Management remains in place

The employees of the Village Vacances Valcartier complex are informed Thursday morning. From the outset, the new owners assured that the Quebec management would remain in place, including Sylvain Lauzon, as president and chief operating officer.

They speak of a “new era of unforgettable experiences”.

They also insisted that all jobs will be secure. The VVV employs some 650 people.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

SCREENSHOT, VAT NEWS

Two companies whose head offices are located in the United States are part of the transaction.

It is the investment fund EPR Properties, a company listed on the stock exchange (NYSE: EPR), which buys the company and entrusts its management to Premier Parks. EPR, based in Kansas City, specializes in entertainment and has cinemas, ski resorts, amusement parks, amusement centers, casinos, hotels, luxury accommodations and even a museum.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

Premier Parks, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has made its mark in theme park management. Several of its management members have already worked at Six Flags, which owns La Ronde, in Montreal, including CEO Kieran Burke. Premier Parks currently operates 13 water or amusement parks in North America, but over its 35-year history it has been involved in managing 75 such venues. This will be his first foray into Quebec.

“Quebec is a very special market whose specificity we know. We are committed to honoring the legacy of the Drouin family, not to changing the essence of what was built here and embraced by so many in Eastern Canada,” said Mr. Burke.

Mr. Lauzon says he is happy to join the experience group. “There is simply no other group in our industry that combines more experience in the design, construction and operation of tourist attractions.”

keep the vocation

The buyers do not intend to change the vocation of the site, but rather to make it grow, and this weighed in the balance when the Drouin family decided, according to information from the Log. The Drouin brothers, who owned the company, will start personal projects.

The VVV was founded in 1963 by the family patriarch, Adrien Drouin. The site was initially a very popular center for sliding. Under the aegis of his son, Guy Drouin, the VVV has grown to become the largest complex of its kind in Eastern Canada.


Guy Drouin in 2012

Archival photo, RENÉ BAILLARGEON

Guy Drouin in 2012

Guy Drouin died in 2016, at the age of 69. After his death, his three sons, Mathieu, Simon and Jérôme, took over the reins of the business.

At the time of his death, Guy Drouin was thinking of early retirement, but had refused purchase offers in the past. He had passed away following “lightening” cancer, just days before the opening of Bora Parc, his big dream.

1963

Foundation of a small winter sliding center by Adrien Drouin, on his land in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, called Les glissades du Village. It will later become the Sports Village.

1971

Succession of the company by the son of the founder, Guy Drouin.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

ARCHIVE PHOTO, BENOIT GARIEPY

1980

Beginning of summer activities with the roller skating trail, the artificial lake and a few water slides. Expansion will continue each year thereafter.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

FILE PHOTO, SERGE LAPOINTE

1987

Inauguration of Everest


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

FILE PHOTO, DANIEL MALLARD

1989

Inauguration of the wave pool


Guy Drouin in front of the wave pool in 1998

ARCHIVE PHOTO, LEOPOLD ROUSSEAU

Guy Drouin in front of the wave pool in 1998

1993

Inauguration of the Amazon


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

Photo archives, Benoit Gariépy

1994

Major expansion of the winter games center with the addition of the Avalanche sector and Snow Rafting.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

1998

Opening of camping and rafting on the Jacques-Cartier River. The Village des Sports becomes the Village Vacances Valcartier.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

ARCHIVE PHOTO, CAMIL LESIEUR

2010

Opening of Calypso Park in Ottawa


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

2016

Death of Guy Drouin and succession by his three sons.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

2016

Inauguration of the 4-star hotel, the indoor water park Bora Parc and first seasonal opening of the Hôtel de Glace. Village Vacances Valcartier becomes the largest resort of its kind in Eastern Canada.


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands


Village Vacances Valcartier goes into American hands

2022

Purchase of Groupe Calypso-Valcartier by EPR and Premier Parks

EPR Properties

  • Real estate investment trust based in Kansas City, USA
  • 6.4 billion in investments
  • Present in 355 locations in the United States and Canada
  • Specialized in the leisure, entertainment and experiential market

Premier Parks

  • Entertainment Facility Manager, based in Oklahoma City, USA
  • $200 million in annual revenue
  • 5 million visits annually to its facilities
  • Currently operates 13 parks and attractions including Hawaii, Santa Monica, Orlando, Nashville, Virginia Beach and Toronto (Wet ‘n’ Wild).
  • The company specializes in the management, but also in the revitalization of “mature” parks, in order to increase their profits.

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