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.
Lucie Lafrenière led her first tour as a greeter Wednesday with a visitor from Minnesota. She was a bit nervous, she said, but she came prepared and overall it was "very nice."
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.
Paul Dostie, a local history buff, likes to share quirky facts about the town, like its early bans on alcohol and swimming without a swimsuit.
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.
"Even if we have nice scenery or nice architecture, it's the people who make it come to life," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak Thursday on the fourth anniversary of the deadly derailment.
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.
than this tragedy … It's important fo for people to know that we move forward and make them discover the beauties of the city."
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."