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Pointe-Claire Windmill
Pointe-Claire Windmill
Location on the Island of Montreal.  (Outlined areas indicate demerged municipalities).
Location on the Island of Montreal.
(Outlined areas indicate demerged municipalities).
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Montréal
RCM None
Founded 1698
Constituted January 1, 2006
 • Total 34.70 km2 (13.40 sq mi)
 • Land 18.88 km2 (7.29 sq mi)
 • Total 31,380
 • Density 1,662/km2 (4,300/sq mi)
 • Pop 2011-2016
Increase 1.9%
 • Dwellings
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
H9R, H9S
Area code(s) 514 and 438


Pointe-Claire is an on-island suburb of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. Pointe-Claire is largely residential in character, but is also the site of a lot of economic activity, such as retail activity, light manufacturing, various corporate offices, and a hospital. The symbol of the town is the Pointe-Claire Windmill.


On a map of the Island of Montreal dated 1700, the words "Pointe" and "Pointe Claire" are visible.

Pointe-Claire was first described by Nicolas Perrot in his account of 1669, and the name Pointe-Claire appeared on a map as early as 1686. Although Samuel de Champlain canoed through the area in 1613, he reported no village or dwelling visible. The toponym Pointe-Claire refers to the peninsula, or point, where the windmill, convent, and the Saint-Joachim de Pointe-Claire Church are sited. The point extends into Lake Saint-Louis and has a clear view of its surroundings.

The first grant of land under the seigneurial system was in 1684 to Pierre Cabassier, for a lot just east of Pointe Charlebois. Under the seigneurial system, the Sulpicians had to build a mill for the colonists, who in turn had to grind their grain there at a set fee.

In 1707, after the Great Peace of Montreal was signed in 1701, the Chemin du Roy (now Lakeshore Road) from Dorval to the western tip of Montreal Island was opened having been ordered by intendant Jacques Raudot, and the parish was subdivided in three côtes: St. Rémy (present-day Boulevard-des-Sources), St. Jean and St. Charles. Between côtes St. Rémy and St. Charles lay 33 lots (numbered 145 to 177). These were generally three arpents wide by 20 or 30 deep. Up to this time Pointe-Claire had only been accessible by boat.

In 1713 the seminary formed a parish on the land that now includes Pointe-Claire and much of the West Island, and in 1714 a church was built at the point, at the site of the present-day church. Up to that time the area was served by an itinerant missionary priest. Initially the church was called Saint-Francois-de-Sales, but it was renamed six months later to Saint-Joachim de la pointe claire. The church and presbytery, both built of stone, formed a fort about two arpents (7000 m²) in area, surrounded by stakes. The construction was ordered by Governor Beauharnois out of fear of the Iroquois. The point was used as a stopover by voyageurs en route for the back country.

In 1728-9 the first lots were granted, near the fort, to a blacksmith and to a carpenter. By 1765 there were 783 residents, 74 lots owned by 35 individuals, and 19 houses, some built of stone, but most of wood.

In 1854 the municipality of Saint-Joachim-de-la-Pointe-Claire was defined, and the name eventually shortened to Pointe-Claire.

The Grand Trunk Railway built a line in 1855, linking Pointe-Claire to Montreal. This brought people, and with them property development in an area that up to then had been largely agricultural. It also improved the welfare of farmers by providing a ready market for their goods. Suburban development began in 1893 when Otto Frederick Lilly acquired land spanning Boulevard Saint Jean. He used his influence with the Canadian Pacific Railway to have a station added to the line at the end of Cedar avenue, which he also paved from there down to Lakeshore Road. Both sides of Cedar Avenue were built up by 1920. Provincial highway number 2 (now Autoroute 20) was built alongside the railway in 1940, following expropriation of property. This led to a move of much of the town from the south to the north of the highway, namely the town hall, recreation centre, police station, and fire station.

After the British North America Act of 1867 Pointe-Claire was included in the new federal riding of Jacques Cartier. In the election of the 7th of August, the men (suffrage did not extend to women until 1940) of Pointe-Claire elected the Conservative Guillaume Gamelin Gaucher.

In 1900 a major fire destroyed much of village. It was discovered in an uninhabited building around 02:00 on the morning of 22 May. The wind caused the fire to spread to surrounding houses. The only water supply was from village wells or carried in buckets from the river. A small two-wheeled hose reel and hand pump was the only village fire protection. Locals failed to put out the fire and asked for help from Montreal. Equipment was sent by train but did not arrive in time to help. The worst of the damage was on the rue de l'église. In all about 30 buildings were destroyed, including the post office, the town hall, and the residences of about 200 people.

From 2002-2006 there were municipal reorganizations across the province, which included a reorganization of Montreal, Pointe-Claire was merged into Montreal and became a borough. However, after political changes (Quebec general election, 2003 and the Quebec municipal referendums, 2004) it was re-constituted as an independent city in 2006, along with a number of other boroughs.


The shoreline of Pointe-Claire along Lac Saint-Louis is at about 30 metres above sea level and rises along a fault by about 30 metres not far from shore, more steeply in the west. The eastern side has a soil rich in clay, while the western side is stonier with limestone strata. Pointe-Claire is bounded on the north by Dollard-des-Ormeaux, on the east by Dorval, on the south by Lac Saint-Louis, and on the west by Kirkland and Beaconsfield.

Pointe-Claire is entirely urbanised and developed. There are 38 public parks and green spaces with 5 baseball/softball diamonds, 26 playgrounds, 19 soccer pitches, 7 outdoor swimming pools, 24 tennis courts, 10 outdoor skating rinks, and five shoreline areas.

Large green spaces include:

  • The public Terra-Cotta Natural Park which is a natural green space of 39 hectares, with six kilometers of paths. From 1912 to 1962, a clay deposit on the site was exploited by the Montréal Terra Cotta and Lumber Co. The clay, mixed with sawdust, was baked on site to produce hollow tiles used in construction.
  • The Last Post Fund National Field of Honour, a National Historic Site of Canada, which is open to the public.
  • The private Beaconsfield Golf Course, on the site of a disused quarry which supplied limestone for the construction of the Victoria Bridge in 1860.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1966 26,784 —    
1971 27,300 +1.9%
1976 25,917 −5.1%
1981 24,571 −5.2%
1986 26,026 +5.9%
1991 27,647 +6.2%
1996 28,435 +2.9%
2001 29,286 +3.0%
2006 30,161 +3.0%
2011 30,790 +2.1%

The population in the 2011 census is 30,790, an increase of 2.1% from the previous census in 2006. Growth across Canada was 5.9%. The median age is 46.2, compared to 39.2 for Montreal. 84.8% of the population is aged 15 and over, the same as for Montreal. The area of Pointe-Claire covers 18.88 square kilometres giving a population density of 1,631 persons per square kilometre.

Pointe-Claire has 12,067 private dwellings occupied by usual residents. The change in private dwellings occupied by usual residents from 2006 was 0.1%. For Canada as a whole, the number of private dwellings occupied by usual residents increased 7.1%.

Mother tongue language
Language Pop
English 16,125 57.08% 16,475 56.69% 16 435 55.01% 16,125 52.81%
French 6,650 23.54% 6,970 23.98% 6,680 22.36% 6,745 22.09%
Both English and French 430 1.52 500 1.72% 480 1.61% 655 2.15%
Other languages 4,780 16.92% 5,115 17.60% 6,275 21.00% 6,525 21.37%

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