Snow Cats: the Most Unusual Vehicles

Morin Heights Historical Association (Reproduced from The Porcupine, 2010)
En attendant le bus. (Photo - AHMH)

larger_snowmachine.1.jpgThe snowmobile taxis / school buses that roamed Morin Heights village streets and roads in the 1940s and 1950s "must have been the most unusual vehicles to ever trek through the snow," as Sandra Stock described them.

Because roads were not plowed in winter, automobiles were effectively useless for much of the winter, especially in the rural parts of the municipality. Horses and sleighs had always been the preferred mode of winter transport, until these large snowmobiles arrived on the scene.

They served as taxis and often "replaced sleighs as school buses, much to the delight of children in the rural parts of our district."

larger_snowmachine.3.jpgSandra Stock continues, "These were often homemade by local mechanics, but kept their basic style of being a homely cross between a military tank and a sleigh, with several small, round, ocean vessel portal windows. The driver sat in the middle of the front seat and small boys fought to accompany him in this cabin. Access for the pupils was through a door in the stern. Once inside, the big snowmobile was so noisy that everyone sat in enforced silence on springless benches."