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Where history is lived: la maison du Pressoir (the cider press house)

Didier Joubert (1771–1821) was one of the last millers to work in an era resembling the French seigneurial regime. Not only was he a great craftsman, versed in many construction techniques—carpentry, masonry—he was also a skilled miller and farmer. As the neighbouring land was cleared and farmed, the village grew, and with it the Sault-au-Récollet parish. Mr. Joubert’s income, and the profit he made for the Sulpicians, grew as well. He became wealthy enough to add to his activities a cider press at the heart of the village. He started its construction in 1806.

Placed on a table in the cider press house, this wooden model represents the apple press built by Didier Joubert and how it was integrated to the framework of the building at the time. The press consisted of a large lever that was progressively lowered by a human-powered screw.

This model, exhibited on the first floor of the cider press house, shows the operation of the press and its installation within the building’s structure.

The silhouetted character at the centre of the model is the artisan who oversaw the operations of the cider mill. To the left, the mechanism that allowed for the turning of the screw in order to increase pressure on the apples.

The silhouetted character at the centre of the model is the artisan who oversaw the operations of the cider press.


The cider produced at the time was somewhat different than the drink we know today. It was a beverage with a low alcohol content. Cider is easier to store than juice, which tends to ferment when not properly refrigerated. This would afford a longer shelf life to products from the island’s orchards, of which there were still many in the early 1800s.

After his death, Didier Joubert’s descendants did not take over the cider press, but rather converted it into a residence in 1842. The era of the miller-craftsman was over. In 1837, the Sulpicians sold the dike and its facilities to Pascal Persillier dit Lachapelle Jr., a typical entrepreneur of his time.

Stéphane Tessier explains the esteem the Sulpicians had for miller Didier Joubert
Video with transcript (EN). Subtitles available in English and French.

On the left, children playing in the backyard of 10861 Du Pressoir Street. This flat-roofed, two-story home was added to the cider press house. In the centre, two adults are chatting on the back porch of 10865. The cider mill house was divided into two apartments, with differently coloured gable roofs.

In the early 20th century, the cider press house is unrecognizable. This photograph shows the backyards of the homes located at 10861 and 10865 Du Pressoir Street.

View of the cider press house as it appears today to visitors of the Île-de-la-Visitation Nature Park.

La maison du Pressoir (the cider press house), 10865, rue du Pressoir, Montréal, QC, H2B 2L1. This house is classified as a cultural heritage building by the government of Québec.