Vikings of the Fjord
Could you imagine taking a three-hour road trip through rolling green mountains, and into the far northern stretches of Quebec, to a tiny village surrounding a Fjord; just to be met by a man in medieval leather shoes, a feather-hat and kilt who hand-crafts amazing Viking homes? My family and I were introduced to Olivier Hudon while I was trying to find photo opportunities to help advertise my newest children's book based on Norse mythology, 'Who Is That in the Sky?' Together we arranged a date to visit, take pictures and chat with one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. This man, his properties, and his stories are far from basic. He has more layers than the average person, yet he is incredibly humble and hospitable. This entire article exists for the sole purpose of introducing you to him and the projects under his business of 'Les Artisans du Fjord'. Make sure you take the opportunity to expand the images in the slideshow below to get the full scope of what we have managed to capture in photos:
Located in a small village called Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, Olivier Hudon is the proud owner of Les Artisans du Fjord. Here he hand-crafts Scandinavian-style houses in his workshop and on his acreage. His properties are heavily inspired by the Viking Age, using sustainable practices that help supply work to the locals, while giving the community access to more affordable housing.
Pulling into his driveway we were immediately struck in awe by the details of his home. The entire structure is a massive piece of art. It takes a moment to absorb the unique craftsmanship of the woodwork, carvings, rune cut-outs, custom shingles and roof detailing that decorates his house. It is so captivating that you almost miss the gorgeous view of the mountains across the street, the fruitful raspberry bushes beside his home, and the chickens freely running across his properties.
Next door is his second-built Viking house, which features a wooden sauna roofed with turf. It really looks like he went back in time and transported it straight from the Swedish countryside. Olivier lives in the largest of the Viking properties, offering rental opportunities at the others. Each house takes him 1-3 years to build by hand depending on his availability. You can check out the availability of his Airbnbs [here].
Did I mention how humble and kind this man is? He offers his downstairs workshop to the village children. Pride gleams through his eyes while showing us a sketch a local 10-year old created while sharing how impressed he is by all the children of the Fjord.
A historical Viking re-enactment group called, 'La Troupe d'Aegir' also uses his workshops to create the equipment they need for their events. Leaving the workshop and following the main house to the backyard, you are met with a lumber yard overlooking breath-taking scenery; and just past the lumber yard is a stage protected by totems of Odin and Thor. This is where Olivier has hosted many impressive events.
Events hosted on Olivier's acreage have brought over 80 Vikings to his land for live concerts and festivals. Several entertainers come from all over to perform on his stage. Guests have the opportunity to set up a Viking encampment while enjoying a variety of music; including Viking metal, punk-rock, historic folk music, and other genres. These events also include fire and suspension dancers, bonfires, and more exquisite fire displays. Unfortunately, the town hall has begun to decline event permits because they were hosted on his agricultural portion of land... he plans to re-submit another application to continue these events in his forested area. If this passes, he will build a Viking long-house in the woods to help make the events bigger and better than ever.
After the house-tour, a short walk for lunch on the water and a little conversation, it was time for us to go back home to our own mountains; but not before Olivier gave us a little parting gift - a CD of his music! His band is called 'Les Bâtards du Nord.'
Les Bâtards du Nord is a band that specializes in creating music from Nordic, Scandinavian, Celtic and Quebec folklore. The music is full of old woodwind instruments many people are no longer familiar with; such as the cittern, harp, horns, davul, mandolin, fujara, transverse flute, war drum, psaltery, and hurdy-gurdies.
My family ended our experience listening to this music on the way home. Although my French is not very good the instrumentals are amazing! My husband and myself thoroughly enjoyed it, while our two-year old fell asleep to it immediately.
Olivier hopes to continue expanding his Viking community by hand-crafting more homes and getting Viking events started again, but his biggest dream is to make a longboat to sail from the Fjord. Make sure you stay up-to-date with all the happenings of Les Artisans du Fjord by following their projects and events here:
As for me...
I had a couple of cute pictures taken with my son to help promote my books. The most important project on hand is 'Who Is That in the Sky?' - A child's first book of Norse myths. If it doesn't reach its funding goal by August 10, 2021, I won't be able to afford the printing and shipping costs for the initial order.
Please support this venture by clicking the picture below, and help create board-books for kids that will help teach them about Norse theology and the solar cycle. Thank you!