2019 esso cup mylene lefebvre feature

Climb every mountain

Mylène Lefebvre is providing inspiration through her quest to conquer the highest peaks in every province and territory

Quinton Amundson
April 25, 2019

A casual conversation between father and daughter one night in 2017 about endurance athlete Colin O’Brady climbing the Seven Summits in record time sparked an intriguing question.

“Has anyone ever climbed to the highest peak in all the provinces and territories in Canada?”

Paul Lefebvre – a Liberal Party of Canada politician who represents Sudbury in the House of Commons – did not know the answer to the question posed by daughter Mylène, but the question was so intriguing that the duo did some research and uncovered the answer.

Mylène found out she could become the first female and youngest person to complete the enormous feat. The Sudbury Lady Wolves forward, who has always been fascinated by travel and nature, then said in a bit of a joking fashion, “Well that would be something fun we could do.”

Paul was entirely on board with the idea.

“I said that I would be more than happy to do this together,” he says. “When you hear your kid entertain completing this big of a challenge, I believe you should encourage it.”

It became a whirlwind journey. Mylène and Paul conquered seven Canadian provincial summits during the summer of 2018. Mylène's mother, Lyne Giroux, and her younger brothers, Henri and Theo, joined for five of the climbs.

But climbing physical peaks over the past two years is not Mylène’s only accomplishment. Choosing to undertake this epic initiative has helped her surmount emotional and mental mountains as well.

In 2017, Mylène was in a dark place. She had low self-esteem and needed professional help. She didn’t have any motivation in life at the time, so she was looking for a purpose to drive her forward. Over the past two years, she's lifted herself by reaching these summits, playing hockey for the Nepean Wildcats (2017-18) and Lady Wolves and being an advocate for mental health.

“I am trying to bring attention to the stigma that surrounds [mental health]. By climbing these mountains, I show that if you are in a bad place now you can overcome this and you can become better. Even if you are in the lowest of lows things can get better, and you can do amazing things in life.”

The Lefebvre clan’s first conquest was Ontario’s Ishpatina Ridge (693 metres above sea level), located in the corner of Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Provincial Park. The northeastern locale was the perfect starting point for the adventure since it was only about a four-hour drive away from Sudbury. The family made the climb up the ridge as the centrepiece of a getaway that included camping and canoeing. Hiking up an old fire tower trail route for 30 kilometres, the family summited their first peak on July 3.

Manitoba’s Baldy Mountain (832 m), located in Duck Mountain Provincial Park, was the second peak mastered by the family. On July 30, they trekked a 2.9-kilometre trail to get to the top.

Saskatchewan’s greatest peak (1,392 m) does not have a name. The family reached the province’s high point, which is located in a farmer’s field in the Cypress Hills area, on Aug. 1.

Only Mylène and Paul ventured to Quebec to ascend one of Canada’s most isolated peaks, Mount Iberville (1,646 m), situated in Nunavik Parks. After getting some sleep in a dome designed to block out polar bears, they completed the 15-hour hike up the mountain.

This particular trek on Aug. 8 ultimately became a tremendous two-for-one bargain for Mylène and Paul as they made it to the top of Mount Caubvick (1,652 m) in Newfoundland and Labrador on the same day. All they needed to do was cross a 10-metre ridge from Mount Iberville.

There was a bit of a snafu after this particular adventure.

“The planes couldn’t come in and pick us up,” says Mylène. “They almost had to helicopter in food in for us because the planes couldn’t come to pick us up. That was how remote this place was – so that was stressful.”

The rest of the family rejoined them for the sixth and seventh excursion: They completed New Brunswick’s Mount Carleton (820 km) on Aug. 13, and a day later they ventured a mere 140 metres above sea level at an unnamed point in the middle of the province to check Prince Edward Island off the bucket list.

Within the next week, Mylène hopes to help her Lady Wolves climb a mountain by becoming the first host team to win the Esso Cup. Later this summer, she is planning on tackling Mount Columbia (3,747 m) in Alberta, which will represent her and Paul’s toughest climbing challenge yet.

Mylène is not putting a time limit on herself to complete the quest of scaling the high points of all Canadian provinces and territories because her education and hockey career comes first. She has already committed to the Université de Montréal starting this fall and hopes to cross off at least one mountain per year going forward, which would make 2024 as a possible completion year for her mission.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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