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Joseph-Armand Bombardier (1907-1964) and the Ski-Doo

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medium_bombardier.jpgOne of the greatest inventors and industrialists of the Eastern Townships, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, was born in Valcourt in 1907 to Anna Gravel and Alfred Bombardier, a farmer turned general merchant. The eldest of eight children, Bombardier, from an early age, combined a talent for tinkering with a passion for machines. In 1926, he established himself as a garage owner in Valcourt, devoting his spare time to researching and developing vehicles that could travel on snow. In 1929, he married Yvonne Labrecque and together they had six children.

In 1937, years of research culminated in the production of a seven-passenger vehicle, the B-7, and in the patenting of the sprocket wheel/track system which would later be used in most of the subsequently produced vehicles. That same year, the inventor became an entrepreneur and founded L'Auto-Neige Bombardier, which was incorporated in 1942.

After contributing to the war effort, Bombardier devoted himself to his business and continued his work as an inventor, adapting his vehicles to the needs of the forestry, mining, and petroleum industries. His dream of developing a small personal vehicle led to the production and marketing of the famous Ski-Doo snowmobile in 1959.

Along with solving the problems of personal transportation on snow, particularly in remote northern regions, Joseph-Armand Bombardier created a vehicle that would give rise to a new sport and a new industry. Before he died in 1964, he had seen the first signs of the huge success of the snowmobile. A man of great vision, he laid the foundation for Bombardier Incorporated, the large multinational corporation we know today.