A violent windstorm that struck Quebec on Friday has left the iconic Pointe-Claire village windmill heavily damaged.
Two of the four blades now lay on the ground, after gusts of wind clocked at over 100 km/h battered the structure, which is more than 300 years old.
Dozens of roofing shingles also lay scattered throughout the parish property where the windmill is located.
The historical landmark dates back to 1709 and has been a feature of the West Island city.
The silhouette of the stone structure is a symbol of Pointe-Claire.
“It’s our Pointe-Claire logo. We want to take care of it,” Mayor John Belvedere said.
While the city has been fighting for ownership of the building for years, it is not currently responsible for the windmill.
According to Belvedere, the windmill belongs to the St-Joachim church, but the Catholic diocese is in negotiations to purchase it.
The city says it hopes to acquire the historical landmark in the future, once the sale has gone through.
That would then leave the door open for the city to discuss the possibility of buying the windmill from the diocese.
Belvedere says he is confident a deal can be made.
“This is a great opportunity to continue these conversations,” he said.
“We have the willingness to really take care of it.”
St-Joachim Church could not be reached for comment, but the city told Global News it currently has no plans to repair the windmill.
“That’s their problem right now,” Belvedere said.
“If we can take control of it and the land is ceded, then we can put our public funds into it, and we are willing to maintain the condition of it.”
Declared a historical site in 1986, many Pointe-Claire residents want to see the landmark restored to its former glory.
“I was a bit sad. It’s a beautiful part of the village when we always walk by there,” local resident Sam Seawall said after hearing about the damage.
The news came as an unpleasant surprise to Pointe-Claire resident Debbie Webb.
“It’s quite shocking; I didn’t hear anything and I live right here in the village,” Webb said.
There are a total of 20 stone windmills similar to the one in Pointe-Claire left in the province, according to the Pointe-Claire Heritage Society.