Sylvain Leduc: Seeking gazelles in polar bear country

Remarks by Mr Sylvain Leduc, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, to the Sherbrooke Chamber of Commerce, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 3 October 2017.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
27 October 2017


You are probably all familiar with the inventor of the snowmobile, Joseph-Armand Bombardier. He was from the Eastern Townships of Quebec and he merits a place in our history books just as much as Maurice Richard and Félix Leclerc.

You may be less familiar with Montréaler Arthur Sicard, who also had an idea that had a profound impact on the Quebec and Canadian economies. Born in 1876, Sicard spent his childhood working on the family farm. He was often prevented from delivering milk in the winter because of the snow blocking the roads. Observing combine harvesters at work in the fields in summer gave him an idea for a snowblower. Sicard's invention was launched in 1925, and the City of Outremont bought the first model two years later. The snowblower not only improved the lives of city dwellers by making car travel easier in winter, it also had a major and unexpected impact on Canadian economic activity, facilitating winter road transport between Montréal, New York and Toronto.