The Quebec region’s flagship Village Vacances Valcartier recreational tourism complex and Ottawa’s Calypso Park have been sold to American prospects for $179 million The newspaper.
The family business, based in the region since 1963, was acquired in a sale completed on Thursday.
The mega transaction includes the entire Calypso Valcartier group: the Village Vacances Valcartier (VVV) water park and winter play center, Bora Parc, the Valcartier Hotel, the campsite, the Ice Hotel, and Calypso Park in Ottawa, the largest water complex in Canada.
The management remains
The staff of the Village Vacances Valcartier complex will be informed on Thursday morning. From the start, the new owners assured that Quebec’s management would remain, including Sylvain Lauzon as President and Chief Operating Officer.
You speak of a “new era of unforgettable experiences”.
They also insisted that all jobs will be safe. The VVV employs around 650 people.
SCREENSHOT, VAT NEWS
Two companies based in the United States are part of the transaction.
It is publicly traded investment fund EPR Properties (NYSE: EPR) that buys the company and puts management in charge of Premier Parks. Based in Kansas City, EPR specializes in entertainment and has movie theaters, ski resorts, amusement parks, fun centers, casinos, hotels, luxury lodging and even a museum.
Premier Parks, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has made a name for itself in theme park management. Several members of management have previously worked at Six Flags, the owner of La Ronde, in Montreal, including CEO Kieran Burke. Premier Parks currently operates 13 water or amusement parks in North America, but has been involved in the management of 75 such venues in its 35-year history. This will be his first trip to Quebec.
“Quebec is a very special market, and we know its peculiarities. We are committed to honoring the legacy of the Drouin family not to alter the essence of what was built here and is embraced by so many in eastern Canada,” said Mr. Burke.
Mr. Lauzon says he is excited to join the experience group. “There is simply no other group in our industry that brings together more experience in the design, construction and operation of tourist attractions.”
keep the appeal
The buyers don’t intend to change the purpose of the site, they intend to grow it, and this weighed in on the Drouin family’s decision, according to protocol. The Drouin brothers, who owned the company, will start personal projects.
The VVV was founded in 1963 by family patriarch Adrien Drouin. The place was initially a very popular slide center. Under the aegis of his son Guy Drouin, the VVV has grown into the largest complex of its kind in Eastern Canada.
Archive 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 management of the company.
At the time of his death, Guy Drouin was considering early retirement but had previously turned down offers to buy. He had died of “whitening” cancer just days before the opening of Bora Parc, his big dream.
Creation of a small winter glide center by Adrien Drouin on his land in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier called Les glissades du Village. Later it becomes the Sports Village.
Succession of the company by the founder’s son, Guy Drouin.
ARCHIVE PHOTO, BENOIT GARIEPY
Beginning of the summer activities with the roller skating rink, the artificial lake and some water slides. The expansion continues every year thereafter.
FILE PHOTO, SERGE LAPOINTE
Inauguration of Everest
FILE PHOTO, DANIEL MALLARD
Inauguration of the wave pool
ARCHIVE PHOTO, LEOPOLD RUSSEAU
Guy Drouin in front of the wave pool in 1998
Inauguration of the Amazon
Photo archive, Benoit Gariépy
Major expansion of the winter play center to include the avalanche sector and snow rafting.
Opening of camping and rafting on the Jacques-Cartier river. The Village des Sports becomes the Village Vacances Valcartier.
ARCHIVE PHOTO, CAMIL LESIEUR
Opening of Calypso Park in Ottawa
Death of Guy Drouin and succeeded by his three sons.
Inauguration of the 4-star hotel, the Bora Parc indoor water park and the first seasonal opening of the Hôtel de Glace. Village Vacances Valcartier becomes the largest resort of its kind in Eastern Canada.
Purchase of Groupe Calypso-Valcartier by EPR and Premier Parks
- Real estate fund based in Kansas City, USA
- 6.4 billion in investments
- Present in 355 locations across the United States and Canada
- Specializing in the leisure, entertainment and experience market
- Entertainment Facility Manager based in Oklahoma City, USA
- $200 million in annual sales
- 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 has specialized in the management but also in the revitalization of “mature” parks in order to increase their profits.