Alto Alto
Those who Came Before Us – Land Acknowledgment

We acknowledge and share our gratitude to the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples of Canada; caregivers of the land and keepers of its stories for thousands of years. Blue Mountain is located within the boundary of Treaty 18 region of 1818 which is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabek, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat-Wyandot-Wyandotte peoples. Over 500 years ago, the First Nations welcomed us to share this land now called Ontario. We are grateful to explore and play at Blue Mountain and thank all those who were and are caretakers of this beautiful area. We are also mindful of the broken covenants and the need to reconcile with all our allies and relations. Let us listen, discover, and care for this land by learning from our mutual history. As benefactors of thousands of years of Indigenous stewardship, we are privileged to share the beauty of Blue Mountain and are responsible for ensuring its sustainability for generations to come.

This acknowledgment was written with an understanding that we are still learning.
Thank you for your support, patience, and willingness to learn and grow with us

Interactive Timeline


Short Stories

    • One of the most popular questions we receive is “Why are we called Blue Mountain”, when very obviously, the land we sit on is neither a mountain nor blue.

      If you peruse local resources and geological studies, it will appear that the name Blue Mountains was first used by surveyor Charles Rankin in August 1833. Rankin and his men were starting to survey the land on the south shore of Nottawasaga Bay in Collingwood Township and set up camp at the foot of the “Blue Mountains.”

      Upon doing some research into the geological formation of the area and reviewing information from Geology Ontario, a pdf of a Geological Report Entitled Paleozoic Geology of Southern Ontario by D.F. Hewitt (1972) states the following:

      Whitby Formation (now known as the Blue Mountain Formation)

      The Whitby Formation rests on the Lindsay Limestone and is the bedrock formation in parts of Durham, Ontario, York, and Simcoe Counties, in a band extending from Lake Ontario, in the vicinity of Whitby, to Collingwood, on Nottawasaga Bay. The term Whitby Formation replaces the biostratigraphic units Collingwood, Gloucester, and Blue Mountain. The formation consists of three members, a lower black shale member, a middle brown shale member, and an upper grey and blue shale member. The Whitby Formation is about 290 feet thick near Lake Ontario, thinning to about 170 feet thick along Nottawasaga Bay (Liberty 1969, p.67). The Whitby Shale is quarried at the Bowmanville quarry of St. Marys Cement Company to mix with the Lindsay Limestone for the manufacture of portland cement. Test work by the Mines Branch at Ottawa has indicated that some samples of the lower member of the Whitby Formation will produce a satisfactory light weight aggregate.

      So, it seems conceivable, that the Blue Mountains could have gotten its name due to the rock outcrops of the escarpment having a blue/grey hue due to the shale and limestone composition in the area.

      We reached out to Andrea Wilson, Curator of The Depot Heritage Museum and found out that the earliest written documentation of the term - Blue Mountains goes back farther than Rankin, to 1819.

      “The earliest written documentation and artistic documentation of term was Blue Mountains in 1819, using the plural for the many hills and valleys. This is reflected in a book entitled Shoe and Canoe by Bigsby. There was no documentation as to the reason for this name, whether it was the colour of the soil, or the colour of the shade of trees at dusk, or the reflection of the water on the land, it really could be for any of these reasons.

      The term Blue Mountain was chosen by the Blue Mountain Ski Club and then by Jozo Weider for Blue Mountain Resort. Jozo Weider created Blue Mountain Pottery as well, choosing the non-plural version again. He used the clay from the mountain to create this iconic pottery.

      The Town of The Blue Mountains chose their name after the Township of Collingwood and the Town of Thornbury merged in 1999. It was chosen from a list of names suggested by the community and reflects the earliest written (artistic) account.”

      Ref: Andrea Wilson, Curator Craigleith Heritage Depot
    • This original lift tower from the South Chair, Ontario’s first chairlift has been preserved exactly as it was when installed in 1959. Jozo Weider, the founder of Blue Mountain and outdoor manager Ken Skelton supervised the construction of the South Chair.

      Tower sections were cut, welded, and assembled into place at the Weider farmhouse. Eleven of the towers were dragged up the mountain by tractors and sleds and anchored into holes dug by pick and shovel through heavy clay and rock. Ingenious workers used makeshift derricks, ropes, and pulleys to maneuver the towers into place.

      The South Chair operated through the 2000 winter season, after which it was replaced by the Southern Comfort, a high-speed six-person detachable lift opened in 2001. A double chairlift, the South Chair cost only $81,000 to install and carried 936 skiers per hour, while the Southern Comfort cost $3.1 million with a capacity of 3600 skiers per hour.
    • The Great Slide Ride, although not the first of its kind in Canada, was an attraction that many Blue Mountain guests remember fondly. It was an idea conceived by Freiherr (Baron) Karl von Wendt, a German aristocrat who wanted to attract summer visitors to his ski resort in Germany.

      He built a concrete track on which riders would sit upon a piece of carpet and ride down the mountain. Unfortunately, the rider had no control of the carpet and very often would find themselves thrown off the track. He had to find another way for riders to safely descend.

      He enlisted the designers at Porsche to create a new cart with retractable wheels that a rider could control and a braking system so they could slow down and stop. After successfully testing his new design and installing it at his own resort. He started to market the attraction to other resorts.

      The first major adventure attraction at Blue Mountain, the Great Slide Ride, consisted of two parallel concrete tracks that zig zagged down the mountain towards the base of the Blue Mountain Inn. The ride was an immediate hit and was a source of fun for many years.
    • In the winter of 1954, a small party went in search of a skier who had not returned after last runs. They scoured the area fighting poor visibility and high winds and eventually discovered the reason for his absence. He had been buried by an avalanche. The slide was caused by a heavy cornice of snow collapsing during the storm. The skier was cold and suffering from hypothermia but was rescued and taken to safety to recover. The story of the avalanche at Blue Mountain is recounted in George Weider’s book – Blue Mountain and is still told by local ski families today.

    • The Pottery Restaurant is named after the original Blue Mountain Pottery. The pottery on- display in the dining room are original examples of the pottery produced by Jozo Weider, the founder of Blue Mountain Resort. They commemorate the founding and growth of Blue Mountain Pottery, a world-famous product from the Blue Mountain and Collingwood area.

      From its earliest beginnings in the Blue Mountain Ski Barn during the early 1950’s, Blue Mountain Pottery expanded into an enterprise supplementing Jozo’s ski operation by being a year-round revenue generator.

      In 1963 production was moved to a former aircraft factory on Pine Street in downtown Collingwood. Soon after, it relocated into a showroom, retail centre and factory, built at the Blue Mountain Gateway, across from the present Blue Mountain Mall Development.

      In the beginning, visitor to the showrooms were frequently entertained by Jozo or other craftsmen demonstrating their art using a potter’s wheel. Most of the items, however, were produced on a larger scale in moulds and kilns, with the production process undergoing continuous improvements and automation.
      By 1974, the Blue Mountain Pottery was employing 125 workers turning out 14,000 items every day. The product, originally sold by department stores in Toronto and gift shops throughout Ontario, was now being exported all over the world. The best -selling items were the graceful vases and jugs glazed with a secret formula producing a pleasing blend of amethyst, turquoise-green, and rainbow finishes.

      Jozo sold the Blue Mountain Pottery in 1965 to finance the expansion of the ski area. It had several changes in ownership until finally ceasing operations in 2005. The jugs, plates, vases, and figurines are still very popular with collectors around the world. Blue Mountain Pottery can be found on-display at the Royal Ontario and Gardiner Museums and has been featured on a Canadian postage stamp.

      It is estimated that there are more than 5,000 collectors today. Blue Mountain is remembered and valued as a famous Canadian product.
    • The original and very popular après ski bar located at the Blue Mountain Inn has always been a source of interesting conversation. Firstly, those not intimate with the history of the resort have terrible difficulty figuring out how to pronounce its name. Over the years we have heard scores of misinterpretations including JoJo’s, HoHo’s, a combination of the two JoHo’s just to name a few. The bar has also instigated some well strung tales about the bar’s origin and what lies beneath those floors that have seen decade after decade of après revelry.

      Blue Mountain’s first bar was very aptly named after the man who most of his life trying to turn popular opinion over to his favour. That man is – Jozo Weider.

      When Jozo and his family arrived at the base of Blue Mountain in the early 1940’s, the province of Ontario was prohibited from selling alcohol. Blue Mountain Township was primarily an agricultural community with many of its residents religious minded. In fact, there was a large constituent that was not only wary of the new foreigners, but they were also not keen on the encroachment of rowdy ski enthusiasts into their hard-working farming lifestyle. The fact that Blue Mountain was also open on Sundays only fueled their displeasure.

      As the popularity of skiing increased and more people came to the area, the local government controlled by farmers were often a barrier to Jozo’s endeavours. In most cases, his larger-than-life personality, keen business sense and penchant for public speaking allowed him to successfully navigate through the objectors and achieve his goals. There was one problem however, that would be his nemesis until almost the day he died. Collingwood Townships local government were adamant about maintaining a “dry” community. This meant absolutely no alcohol, and despite Jozo’s repeated attempts at changing their minds, the Townships local opinion legislation continually voted against him.

      It was not until just before his death in 1971, that Jozo was finally able to serve alcohol at the Resort. The victory was small however, due to the number of conditions that came with the permission. Alcohol could only be served with meals in a sit-down restaurant. Sundays were completely illegal unless you were seated. No walking across the restaurant to say hello to your friends with a drink in your hand. Not to be outdone, Jozo found creative ways around these problems.

      Many of the rules concerning the service of alcohol at the Resort remained until the mid-1970’s. This was a major source of annoyance for Blue Mountain, who was repeatedly denied the ability to provide an après experience in its lodges. The skiing community was growing rapidly, and the boomers had a tremendous amount of discretionary income. The après ski scene was thriving in the U.S., yet ski areas in Ontario were unable to provide the same experience.

      Gordon Canning, Jozo’s son-in-law and President of Blue Mountain Resort after Jozo’s death, worked tirelessly to overturn the decision of the liquor licensing board. When a licence to serve was finally granted, Gordon and then Hotel Manager Dale McNichol knew exactly what needed to be done - a bar in Jozo’s name would be constructed.

      Which brings us to what lies beneath the bar that is still open today. According to a book written and published by Jozo’s son George Weider, Gordon Canning, upon being granted the elusive license, was admonished by the chairman of the Ontario Liquor Board stating that if Canning was given his way “he would have the entire Province swimming in booze”. In response, the swimming pool at the Blue Mountain Inn was boarded over to make way for the bar.

      So, despite the tall tales that have emerged over the years, no doubt from mischief-making patrons set on creating some local folklore, the secret to what lies beneath Jozo’s “liquor legacy” is a swimming pool. At first, the pool was covered over, water and all. Eventually there were some issues with water leaking up through the floor, so the pool was drained and used to store bar stock and kegs.

      Over the decades, Jozo’s Bar has seen its share of renovations, but to locals it will always be the original après ski bar at Blue Mountain. Maybe, even to this day when the trap door opens to gain access to the void, employees might hear Jozo’s laughter echoing his satisfaction at once again, getting his way.

    Local Links

    Outsiders Outsiders

    “my father's main message was loving the winter”

    George Weider - son of Jozo Weider, Blue Mountain Founder