Historic Pointe-Claire windmill damaged by rain, wind storm

The historic windmill in Pointe-Claire was damaged during a rain, wind storm.

MONTREAL -- The Pointe-Claire windmill, a historic monument of Quebec, suffered severe damage during last week’s intense rain and wind storm.

The force of the gale tore off two of its four propellers, tossing them to the ground.

The windmill has long been considered an important part of Pointe-Claire’s heritage. In fact, it is on the West Island city’s official logo, having stood tall for over 300 years.

“Our concern is that it’s starting to become run down, it needs to have work done on it, but the city does not own it,” said John Belvedere, Pointe-Claire mayor.

However, now that the Saint-Joachim Parish, which owns the windmill, is potentially transferring it to the Archdiocese of Montreal, city officials say they’re trying to get involved.

“We’ve made our voice heard that we want to take control of it to invest money in it to maintain it and try to save it,” said Belvedere.

Construction on the cylindrical mill, located on Saint-Joachim Street, first began in 1709. It is the oldest windmill on the Island of Montreal and one of the 18 remaining windmills in Quebec.

The French design, complete with a movable roof, is an art that has long been forgotten, according to the Société pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine de Pointe-Claire (SSPPC).

SSPPC member Andrew Swidzinski says he's asked Pointe-Claire officials before to intervene and ensure that the windmill is repaired, arguing it has been neglected in recent decades.

He adds that the Fleming windmill, located near the Saint Lawrence River in Montreal’s LaSalle borough, also recently suffered damage.

-- with files from the Canadian Press.