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The Mérineaus, Danises and Paquettes: the working families of Du Pressoir Street

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.

In the centre, Alphonse Mérineau,with his daughter Georgette on the left, in front of their home on Du Pressoir Street. They are holding big carrots. Little Alfred Mérineau is on the right, near the porch, with a cap on his head.

Alphonse Mérineau, his daughter Georgette, born in 1921, and his son Alfred on the porch of their home on Du Pressoir Street on May 15, 1925.

Six of the Danis children huddled around their younger sibling who is in a walker. They are in a garden surrounded by a wooden fence.

Brothers and sisters of the Danis family near the cider press house, circa 1932–1933.

Portrait of a group of twelve children from various Sault-au-Récollet families gathered in front of 10865 Du Pressoir Street. They are all wearing coats and jackets. Except for the tallest girl, they are all wearing a cap or hat.

Pierrette, Yvon, Yolande and Jean Paquette in front of the cider press house with children from Cyr, Desjardins, Laurin, O’Connor, Riendeau and Thibault families, in 1939.


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.

Daniel Danis
—… 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. 

Gabrielle Desgagné
—You would deliver the ice? 

Daniel Danis
—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.