My Montreal: Pointe-Claire & Other Quebec Curios

Pointe-Claire's windmill, one of eighteen surviving windmills in Quebec. Photo credit: indiewench/Flickr Pointe-Claire's windmill, one of eighteen surviving windmills in Quebec. Photo credit: indiewench/Flickr

Pointe-Claire, one of the oldest cities in the West Island, really began its development towards the end of the century in 1698. After a suite of deforestations in order to make way for roads, the area that would become Pointe-Claire would be divided into three. These three boundaries are still in effect, becoming major roads of the area and all are familiar any West Islander: St. Rémy (now des Sources boulevard), St. Jean, and St. Charles.

Located on the western side of the Island, Pointe-Claire is indeed a very typical “West Island” place. Part of the demergers in 2004 that took much of the West Island away from the Montreal agglomeration, Pointe-Claire has a population of a just a few hundred under thirty-one thousand according to the 2011 census. Its inhabitants are very bilingual at 69%, but, somewhat feeding the stereotype of the West Island, Pointe-Claire has a large population that is unilingually English at 26%. 55% of Pointe-Claire’s inhabitants have English as the first language that they learned, while 69% speak English at home. Immigrants to Pointe-Claire tend to come from the Philippines, India, and China. The municipality also has a large visible minority of Chinese, South Asian, and African-American people.

Pointe-Claire’s symbol is its windmill, built in the traditional French style. The oldest windmill on the Island of Montreal (Senneville beat them to the title of oldest windmill in Quebec, building their own in the seventeenth century), its origins are military, agricultural, and observational all in one. The mill was used to grind the grain of the people living in the seigneurie that would become Pointe-Claire, with the mandatory portion being donated to the seigneur, of course. It would be used from its inception 1710 to 1866, when the land is purchased in order to build a religious convent. The windmill is part of only eighteen surviving windmills in Quebec.

Pointe-Claire’s neighbours include Dorval to the west and Beaconsfield to the southwest. Its federal electoral district is Lac-Saint-Louis; its provincial electoral district is Jacques-Cartier.

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