Historical commentary: Stéphane Tessier. Directing and filming for this video: Nicolas St-Germain.
We first see part of the Simon-Sicard dam. Then, inside the Maison du Pressoir (cider mill house), historian and cultural animator Stéphane Tessier (ST), tells us about the many descendants of Miller Jean Sicard, and their major role in the development of villages in the northeastern part of Montreal and Île-Jésus (Laval). His son Simon built the Sault’s first mills.
ST Jean Sicard was the first of his family to become miller after emigrating to Canada. His father Nicolas was a miller back in France. Then, in 1689, the Sulpicians built a windmill to mill flour in what is currently the Moulin-du-Rapide Park in Rivière-des-Prairies.
Jean Sicard was the first to hold tenancy of the mill, which was built on land that belonged to his son Jean-Baptiste.
In 1693, the Sulpicians leases the management of the Pointe-aux-Trembles mill to Jean Sicard for a period of 3 years.
After 3 years, everyone was satisfied with his services. So, he and his son were granted an emphyteutic lease of 99 years to operate the flour windmill in Pointe-aux-Trembles.
The Sulpicians gave him land in Rivière-des-Prairies, Pointe-aux-Trembles and Côte-Saint-Léonard. Jean Sicard had many descendants, including four sons. Three became millers like their father.
His sons were Barthélémy, Simon and Joseph. Jean-Baptiste was the only one who didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps; he became a farmer.
Simon Sicard was born in 1697 in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Between 1724 and 1726, he built a dike in Sault-au-Récollet that connected the island of Montreal with La Visitation Island, to build a series of watermills. The first mill was finished in 1726: a sawmill.
The next year, in 1727, a flour mill was built. Simon Sicard was the miller there for 40 years.
Simon Sicard was an eminent figure, becoming the churchwarden of the Sault-au-Récollet parish in 1739 and captain of the local militia in 1748.
The same year, 1748, Simon Sicard was hired by the seigneurs of Île-Jésus—the Séminaire de Québec—to repair the Saint-François mill.
Then, in 1753, Simon Sicard built a second flour mill on the dike in Sault-au-Récollet.