Today’s cider mill house would be unrecognizable to the island’s previous inhabitants. In fact, the building underwent such major renovations over the years that it had become three semi-detached houses. The Société d’histoire d’Ahuntsic-Cartierville has in its collection three series of photographs documenting the different families who lived in the cider mill house during the first half of the 20th century: the Mérineaus, the Danises and the Paquettes.
Oscar Danis’ family lived there during the ’20s and ’30s. Their many children slept on the upper floor, the floorboards of which were removed during the refurbishing of the cider press house in 1987-88. We have recorded a testimonial from Daniel Danis, who was born in this house.
Daniel Danis shows photos of his large family to Gabrielle Desgagné
Video with transcript (EN). Subtitles available in English and French.
Mr Danis also told Gabrielle Desgagné recollections of his teenage years in the village.
—… When I was a little bit older, around 14 years old, I would be working… On the weekends I worked for Mr. Paquette. He had an ice house, and I would deliver the ice.
—You would deliver the ice?
—Yes. Then I would go all the way to la Petite Misère, across the railroad track. We’d take De Lorimier. There was a tunnel there. Then on the other side, they called that part of town “la Petite Misère.” When I’d get there, I’d sell my blocks two for the price of one, because they had melted too much. I’d sell them two-for-one. These are all things I remember well, even now. One day when I left the house of a client, my cart was gone. The horse had already walked over to the other client’s house. It knew where to go. It was doing the run all on its own! Not me! The horse would deliver the ice!
—It knew everything. I remember being amazed by the horse’s intelligence. This was truly something special. I couldn’t believe it at first. I thought the cart got stolen! But no, it was just fifty feet away, parked outside the next client’s house.