In 1995, the project to establish an economuseum at the Center de l’ému de Charlevoix was the subject of initial discussions between the owner Raymonde Tremblay and representatives of the Economuseum Network Society. Seventeen years later, the Économusée de l’huilerie finally sees the light of day and offers visitors an incursion into the history of the transformation of animal fat into oil, from belugas to emus.
In 1997, when Raymonde Tremblay bought her first 40 emus and installed them in Saint-Urbain, in Charlevoix, Quebec involved more than a hundred breedings of this large bird imported from Oceania. Over the years, Mrs. Tremblay’s passion for this animal has continued to grow, as has her herd, while other breeders have in turn thrown in the towel.
“When I first performed, my intention was mainly to market meat and live emus. The evolution of the market was quite different. It was the emu fat transformed into oil that sparked consumer interest,” explains the breeder. Six years of research and development were needed to perfect the technique for extracting and purifying the oil, odorless and hypoallergenic, which is now used in the preparation of quality cosmetics and care products at the Center de the emu.
Emu meat is still processed and served on site, but it is around the animal fat that the Economuseum of the oil mill was built, in collaboration with the Society of the Economuseum network. “When the time came to define our project, the one that had a link with the know-how of the region was selected. In 1750, the region was already processing porpoise fat for lighting,” summarizes Ms. Tremblay.
“In all our economuseums, we systematically try to make a link between the company and the past, the history of the region. The trade that Raymonde Tremblay practiced is the same as those who transformed porpoise fat into oil in 1750,” comments Carl-Éric Guertin, General Manager of the Économusée Network Society.
Fifth economuseum of Charlevoix
The Économusée de l’huilière is part of a long line of economuseums. This is the fifth to be deployed in Charlevoix after those of the cheese factory, the cider maker, the paper and the flour mill. Affiliation to the economuseum network is a guarantee of quality in the tourist industry, believes Mr. Guertin. “It enhances the quality of the tourist attraction. The network is increasingly well known in Quebec and around the world,” he says.
The dream of a network of emu breeders
Raymonde Tremblay would now succeed in convincing young people, and not so young, to embark on the breeding of this exceptional animal. “I would like to create a network of emus breeders in Quebec; it will be my legs, ”she says with a big smile.