Skip to main content

An Engaged Community, A Living Mill

40 Years of volunteer involvement at the Corporation du Moulin Légaré

Built in 1762, the Moulin Légaré is the oldest continuously operating water-powered grain mill in North America. In 1976, it was classified as a historic landmark by Québec’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs. In 1999, it was classified as a national historic site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. An Engaged Community, A Living Mill is an exhibition that tells the story of the people who have worked for forty years to ensure that the mill would continue to operate, at a time when its existence was threatened.

In the three parts of the exhibition, observers and people who played a part in the mill’s history talk about the preservation of our heritage, both built and intangible, and the importance of community and civic engagement.

The first part of the exhibition tells the story of how the Saint-Eustache community mobilized to keep the mill running when the Légaré family had decided to sell it. Businesses were approached, and the response was positive but insufficient. Initiatives undertaken by members of the Société d’histoire de Deux-Montagnes (SHDM) resulted in the signing of a tripartite agreement between Québec’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the City of Saint-Eustache and the Corporation du Moulin Légaré (CML), a non-profit organization that was set up to administer the mill. At the time, this organization was comprised of the volunteers who took the first steps to safeguard the future of the mill. Through these actions, the groups demonstrated their commitment to heritage conservation.

The second part of the exhibition tells how the work to preserve the mill under the auspices of the CML became institutionalized. The hiring of the current miller gave a new lease of life to flour production and the maintenance of the facility. Volunteers were involved primarily in three ways: sitting on the CML’s Board of Directors, supporting the miller in his various tasks, and helping with repair and maintenance work.

Finally, the third part of the exhibition highlights the work of the community to raise the profile of the Moulin Légaré by promoting its products and organizing educational activities. Today, the Moulin Légaré is much more than an interpretation centre: it helps preserve and pass on a body of traditional knowledge and skills. In addition, on several occasions during the year, the mill is at the heart of festivities at which various groups of volunteers organize activities for the whole community. Their commitment to these festivities is worth mentioning, because it is a source of inspiration and demonstrates the community’s strong desire to keep the mill alive.

Start reading the story

Corporation du Moulin Légaré