This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
The return of the open road.
Of all the Canadian efforts to overcome the restrictions of cold weather, the innovation of Arthur Sicard of Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice, Quebec, may have made the most difference. Sicard hatched an idea back in 1894 when just eighteen years old, but it wasn’t till he was almost fifty that he found the time to produce a prototype. He called it la dénégeuse et souffleuse à neige Sicard, or the Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower. The device combined a four-wheel-drive truck chassis, truck motor, snow scooper, and blower with two adjustable chutes and separate motor. It was the first commercial-grade snow-removal device in the world. The machine threw snow almost a hundred feet from the truck, or directly into the back of the truck in tight situations. The snowblower was an instant hit; by 1927 his vehicles were removing snow from the roadways of the town of Outremont, a suburb of Montreal.