Norm Bourgeois (1916-2010) was a local legend known best for welcoming cross-country skiers into his cabin for a warming cup of tea, a cookie and at least one entertaining tale. His entertaining stories, ranging from a description of his self-made deep sea diving helmet, his porcupine quill hat or his times as a cook in the logging camps would mesmerize guests of all ages and had a positive impact on everyone he encountered. Norm was a master story teller whose animated antics and words typically resulted in gales of laughter from the crowds which regularly assembled at his cabin on so many winter ski weekends.
His quirky, ramshackle original log cabin, was adorned inside with so many weird and wonderful artifacts, that it was almost impossible to see the actual log walls or the ceiling. A visit to Norm and his cabin became a highlight of cross-country skiers at Stokely Creek Lodge, with many returning year after year to become “regulars”.
In 1996, shortly after Norm turned eighty, he found it hard to keep up with hauling water and chopping wood. Stokely Creek Lodge went to some lengths to facilitate Norm’s ability to continue using his cabin and the Algoma Highlands Conservancy purchased the property as a means of ensuring its continued value as a destination ski and so that Norm could continue to visit and entertain in accordance with his longstanding traditions. Sadly, Norm made his last trip to his cabin at the age of 88 and passed away peacefully on February 6, 2010 a couple weeks after his 94th birthday. While Norm may no longer be with us in person, he is certainly still with us all in spirit. It is in that context that we have rebuilt the cabin and continue to refer to it as Norm’s. While we can never replace the individual, we are confident that Norm would be pleased to see his traditions of sharing, welcoming and hosting of adventurers in the backcountry of the Algoma Highlands are being continued. The new cabin represents a lasting tribute to the one and only – Norm Bourgeois.