The Domaine de L’Ange-Gardien has been an important tourist and gourmet destination in the Outaouais Region for nearly 20 years. The owners, Julie Deschamps and Sylvain Léger, have a multitude of ideas for pursuing the company’s mission of offering throughout the year the opportunity to spend quality time with family to tens of thousands of people.
Snow tubing in the winter, sugaring-off events in the spring, camping in the summer, and reception rooms with which to host all sorts of events year-round, allow this entrepreneurial couple to have fun all year long on their huge 123-acre playground, just a few miles from Highway 50.
Speaking with this couple makes you aware of the passion they have for their family business, one that employs close to 70 people in high season. Sylvain, the developer of a thousand projects, and Julie, his faithful companion with her more realistic nature, make a great team.
Hearing them answer questions, sometimes interrupting each other with their characteristic passion, allows you to understand why their two sons, Francis and Olivier, will be well supported in ensuring the succession of the business.
“We are proud to see our sons’ desire to take over the business. My parents got involved in this adventure from the beginning and are still active today. Eventually, our two sons will join us, and given the type of business, there are no limits for them,” says Sylvain.
The couple is far from resting on their laurels to ensure the growth of their business. Having survived the pandemic, they want to move forward with new projects.
Hosting hundreds of family and corporate events on an annual basis and despite having two reception rooms, openings through to 2023 are becoming scarce. In order to meet the demand, expansions are currently underway. With their eternal spirit to surpass themselves, expansion projects never stay on the shelf for long.
“We want to expand our banquet rooms, given that the 2022 calendar is full and we already have several bookings for 2023,” explains Julie. “We will take this opportunity to build a proper gourmet boutique deserving of the name, and add space to our kitchen in order to meet MAPAQ C1 standards. This certification will allow us to sell our maple products in major food chains.”
Sylvain Léger does not hide the fact that the SADC de Papineau-Collines has always been there to support them. While business relationships tend to be shorter and shorter, he emphasizes the import contribution of the SADC’s financial analyst, Jean-Denis Deschênes, who has been involved with his company for two decades.
“Since the beginning, he was there to help us with our business and financial plans. His advice has always been solid. In fact, he has been omnipresent in our business, as was the case in 2019 when we acquired snow guns for our slides and equipment for our maple syrup company 2.0. One thing is clear, he will be part of the new adventure to expand our business, and will once again find programs that will meet our future needs.”
Looking Towards the Future
As the couple states frankly, COVID hit the company hard. For the first time, Sylvain was forced to say no to customers who were anticipating enjoying one of their excellent sugar shack meals. It was a situation that will remain engraved in his memory for a long time.
“During the first lockdown, I found it hard to tell customers that I couldn’t receive them,” he recalls. “For the past 20 years, I have been trying to welcome and provide them with a unique experience. We’ve implemented a lot of new things in order to adjust to this pandemic, be it regarding the camping, the sugar shack or the snow tubing.”
The development of the maple product line, the sugar shack take-out and the online reservations for the snow tubing are some of the adjustments made during the pandemic that are here to stay. This is a beautiful example of how the couple weathered the storm, while continuing to develop their entrepreneurial baby.
Le Domaine de L’Ange-Gardien
1031, chemin Pierre-Laporte, L’Ange-Gardien