Lac-Mégantic 'greeters' give tourists new view of town beyond train derailment tragedy
Residents provide free, insider tour of town's history and hidden charms
A group of Lac-Mégantic residents is looking to put a new spin on the town, four years after the oil train derailment that killed 47 people and devastated much of the downtown core.
The local volunteers residents are part of the web-based Global Greeter Network, which connects tourists with locals in more than 140 destinations worldwide.
Greeters provide visitors with free, insider tours of Lac-Mégantic's hidden charms, which the dozen or so volunteers say are many.
She pointed to Lac-Mégantic's connections to the American Revolution and the scenic lookout at Parc de la Croix as examples of what she likes to highlight.
Martine Boulet-Pelletier, who lost a sister in the 2013 derailment, wants visitors to experience the town's many offerings for outdoor enthusiasts like herself.
Greeters bring Lac-Mégantic's charms to life
Lafrenière said she jumped at the opportunity to show people around town after experiencing a couple of greeter tours on a recent trip to the United Kingdom.
She called the anniversary "a day of reflection," one that she'll be spending with close friends. But she also wants the world to see Lac-Mégantic through another lense, as well.
Still, Lafrenière said she won't shy away from addressing the derailment on her tours if that's what visitors want to discuss.
"It's part of our history," she said. "It was a life-changing moment."
With files from Angelica Montgomery