Michel Trudeau

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Person.png Michel Trudeau  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Trudeau family)
Michel Trudeau.jpg
BornOctober 2, 1975
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedNovember 13, 1998 (Age 23)
Kokanee Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Cause of death
Parents • Pierre Trudeau
• Margaret Trudeau
RelativesJustin Trudeau
Son of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and brother of Justin Trudeau. Died in a freak avalanche in 1998.

Michel Charles-Émile Trudeau was the youngest son of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Margaret Trudeau and the younger brother of future Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He died in a freak avalanche on November 13, 1998, while skiing in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.


He was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, and partially named after his paternal grandfather, Charles-Émile.[1][2] Trudeau was known to family and friends as Miche, a nickname given to him as a four-month-old by Fidel Castro when he accompanied his father and mother to Cuba in 1976, and he later started going by Mike. Trudeau lived his early life in Ottawa and later Montreal upon his father's retirement from politics in 1984, where he was a classmate of Sophie Grégoire. During their summer breaks, Michel and his brothers attended Camp Ahmek on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park where he would later work as a camp counsellor.[3] He studied at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf before attending Dalhousie University to study microbiology.[4] When talking about her sons each having distinctly different personalities in an interview in 1977, Margaret Trudeau said, "Justin, 6, is a prince — a very good little boy. Sasha (Alexandre), born Christmas Day, 1973, is a bit of a revolutionary, very determined and strong-willed. Miche (Michel) is a happy, well-adjusted child, who combined the best traits of both brothers."[5]


Michel Trudeau was nearly killed on July 17, 1998, when his truck was broadsided by another vehicle while driving through Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. According to witnesses, the accident was so powerful that Trudeau’s truck rolled over several times and was a complete write off.[6]

Trudeau officially died as the result of an avalanche on Friday November 13, 1998, aged 23. At the time, he had been working for about a year at Red Mountain Resort and living in Rossland, British Columbia. He was taking a backcountry skiing trip with 5 friends in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park when he was swept into Kokanee Lake and unable to reach the shore. His companions were unable to effect a rescue, and Trudeau drowned.[7]

Avalanches in the month of November can happen, but are unlikely because snowpacks have not built up sufficiently to create conditions in which avalanches naturally occur. Evan Manners, manager of the Avalanche Centre in Revelstoke, B.C., stated that “before the Trudeau death he had never heard of an avalanche pushing someone into the water who then drowned. It’s very rare,” he told the National Post shortly after the accident.[8]

An "extensive search" was launched, but his body has never been found.[9][10] The lake's high altitude and limited days of open waters each year prevented divers from completing the search.[11][12][13] The Trudeau family called off the recovery of the body and later built a chalet nearby as a memorial to their youngest son.[13][14]