Village Vacances Valcartier Leisure Tourism Complex, the flagship in the Quebec region, as well as Calypso Park in Ottawa, were sold to US interests for $179 million, I learned Newspaper.
The family business, which has been in the area since 1963, was acquired in a sale that completed Thursday.
The giant deal includes the entire Calypso-Valcartier collection: Village Vacances Valcartier Water Park (VVV) and Winter Games Center, Bora Parc, Valcartier Hotel, Campground, Ice Hotel, as well as Calypso Park in Ottawa, the largest aquatic complex in Canada.
Management is still in place
The staff of the Village Vacances Valcartier complex is notified on Thursday mornings. From the outset, the new owners have assured that Quebec management will remain in place, including Sylvain Luzon, as president and chief executive officer.
They speak of “a new era of unforgettable experiences”.
They also insisted that all jobs would be secure. VVV employs about 650 people.
Screenshot, VAT news
Two companies headquartered in the United States are part of the deal.
It is the investment fund EPR Properties, a publicly listed company (NYSE: EPR), that buys the company and entrusts its management to Premier Parks. EPR, which is headquartered in Kansas City, specializes in entertainment and has movie theaters, ski resorts, amusement parks, amusement centers, casinos, hotels, luxury accommodations, and even a museum.
Premier Parks, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has made its mark in theme park management. Several members of its management have already worked for Six Flags, which owns La Ronde, in Montreal, including CEO Kieran Burke. Premier Parks currently operates 13 water parks or amusement parks in North America, but over its 35-year history, it has co-managed 75 such venues. This would be his first foray into Quebec.
“Quebec is a very private market that we know is special. We are committed to honoring the legacy of the Drouin family, not changing the essence of what was built here and embraced by so many in eastern Canada,” said Mr. Burke.
Mr. Luzon says he is happy to join the experience group. “There is simply no other group in our industry that brings together more experience designing, building and operating tourist attractions.”
Buyers do not intend to change the profession of the site, but rather to make it grow, and this weighed in the balance when the Darwin family decided, according to information received from register. The Darwin brothers, who own the company, will start their own personal projects.
VVV was founded in 1963 by the head of the family, Adrien Drouin. The site was initially a very popular slithering center. Under the auspices of his son, Guy Darwin, VVV grew to become the largest complex of its kind in eastern Canada.
Archive photo, RENÉ BILLARGEON
Jay Drouin in 2012
Jay Darwin passed away in 2016 at the age of 69. After his death, his three sons, Mathieu, Simon and Jerome, took over the business.
At the time of his death, Jay Darwin was considering early retirement, but had declined purchase offers in the past. He passed away after “lightning” cancer, just days before Bora Park opened, his big dream.
The founding of a small winter slide center by Adrien Drouin, on his land in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, called Les gliissades du Village. It will later become the Sports Village.
Company succession by son of founder Jay Darwin.
File photo, Benoit Garibee
The beginning of summer activities with a ski run, an artificial lake and some waterslides. The expansion will continue every year thereafter.
File image, Serge Lapointe
File photo, Daniel Mullard
Opening of the wave pool
File photo, Leopold Rousseau
Jay Darwin in front of the wave pool in 1998
Photo archive, Benoit Garibee
A major expansion of the Winter Games Center with the addition of an avalanche strip and snowboarding.
Opening camping and kayaking on the Jacques-Cartier River. Village des Sports became Village Vacances Valcartier.
Archive photo, Camille Lesieur
Calypso Park opens in Ottawa
Guy Darwin’s death and the succession of his three sons.
Opening of a 4-star hotel, the Bora-Park indoor water park and the first seasonal opening of the Hôtel de Glace. Village Vacances Valcartier has become the largest resort of its kind in eastern Canada.
Buying Groupe Calypso-Valcartier by EPR and Premier Parks
EPR . properties
- A real estate investment fund based in Kansas City, USA
- $6.4 billion in investments
- Present in 355 locations in the US and Canada
- We specialize in the entertainment, leisure and experimentation market
- Recreational facility manager, based in Oklahoma City, USA
- $200 million in annual revenue
- 5 million visits annually to its facilities
- It currently operates 13 parks and attractions including Hawaii, Santa Monica, Orlando, Nashville, Virginia Beach, and Toronto (Wet and Wild).
- The company specializes in management but also in revitalizing “mature” gardens in order to increase its profits.
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