Trois-Rivières is a city in the Mauricie region of Quebec, Canada, located along the densely populated Quebec City-Windsor Corridor at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and Saint Lawrence rivers. It was founded in 1634, the second permanent settlement in New France. The current city was created in 2002 from the merging of six towns : Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Pointe-du-Lac, Sainte-Marthe-du-Cap, Saint-Louis-de-France, Trois-Rivières and Trois-Rivières-Ouest.
The city is named for the fact that the Saint-Maurice River, which is divided by two small islands at the river's opening, has three mouths at the St. Lawrence. The city's logo also illustrates this.
Trois-Rivières is also the name of a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) of Quebec, coextensive with the city of Trois-Rivières. Its geographical code is 371.
Together with the regional county municipality of Les Chenaux, it forms the census division (CD) of Francheville (37). The municipalities within Les Chenaux and the former municipalities that were amalgamated into Trois-Rivières formerly constituted the regional county municipality of Francheville.
Trois-Rivières has been a world capital of the pulp and paper industry since the 1930s; the city's other prominent industries include metal transformation, electronics, thermoplastics, as well as the production of food crops and cabinetmaking. An industrial park adjoining Trois-Rivières Airport also serves as a major centre for the aeronautical industry.
The city's main street is Boulevard des Forges, an area several blocks long in the heart of the Old City composed of century-old buildings housing a great variety of cafés, restaurants, clubs, bars, and shops. In the warmer months, the area is regularly closed to vehicular traffic to accommodate various festivals and events, turning the downtown core into a pedestrian mall. Trois-Rivières is officially the "National Poetry Capital of Quebec"; numerous plaques displaying poetic verses are installed across the centre of the city, and its International Festival of Poetry (held each year in the first week of October) honours this title.
Trois-Rivières has an internationally known racetrack named Circuit Trois-Rivières. The track hosts American Le Mans series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, and the Formula Atlantic events. Notable landmarks include the Forges du Saint-Maurice, a foundry dating back to the 1730s, the Ursulines Monastery, and Notre-Dame-du-Cap Basilica.
On January 1, 2002, the former city of Trois-Rivières along with the neighbouring towns of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Sainte-Marthe-du-Cap, Saint-Louis-de-France, Trois-Rivières-Ouest, and the municipality of Pointe-du-Lac, were amalgamated to form the new city of Trois-Rivières. The Trois-Rivières metropolitan area also includes the city of Bécancour.
For a long time, the area that would later become known as Trois-Rivières was frequented by Algonquins who used it as a summer stopping place. The French explorer Jacques Cartier described the site while on his second journey to the New World in 1535. The name "Trois-Rivières", however, was only given in 1599, by a certain Captain Dupont-Gravé, and first appeared on maps of the area in 1601.
In 1603, while surveying the Saint-Lawrence River, Samuel de Champlain recommended establishing a permanent settlement in the area, which was finally done on July 4, 1634 by the Sieur of Laviolette. The city was second to be founded in New France (after Quebec City, before Montreal) and played an important role in the colony and in the fur trade, thanks to its strategic location. The settlement became the seat of a regional government in 1665. Ursuline nuns first arrived at the settlement in 1697, establishing the first school and helping local missionnaries to Christianize the local Aboriginals and Métis.
French sovereignty in Trois-Rivières continued until 1760, when the city was captured as part of the British conquest of Québec. Sixteen years later, on June 8, 1776, it was the theatre of the Battle of Trois-Rivières (part of the ill-fated Invasion of the province of Québec by Americans from the Boston area—les Bostonnais) during the American Revolutionary War.
Trois-Rivières continued to grow in stature throughout the period and beyond; in 1792 it became the seat of a judicial district, and that of a Roman Catholic diocese in 1852.
The greater part of the city of Trois-Rivières was destroyed by a fire in 1908. The majority of the city's original buildings, many of which dated back to French colonial years, were destroyed. Only a few were spared, including the Ursuline Monastery and the De Tonnancour Manor. As a result of the destruction, a major redesign and renovation of the city was undertaken, including the widening and renewal of many of the city's roads. As well, many new businesses and industries became established in the town, which attracted many new residents.
In the 1960s, Trois-Rivières undertook a large-scale project of economic diversification, including the establishment of several cultural institutions and attractions. The Old City of Trois-Rivières was declared an "historic sector" in 1964. The Laviolette Bridge, linking Trois-Rivières to Bécancour and the south shore of the Saint-Lawrence River, was inaugurated on December 20, 1967. Finally, in 1969, the city appeared on Canada's academic map with the inception of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, known for its chiropractic school, its podiatric medical education and its excellent programs for primary and secondary school education.
Although historically an important center of commerce, trade and population, Trois-Rivières has relinquished much of its earlier importance to the two major cities of Quebec, the metropolis of Montreal and capital of Quebec City. It does, however, remain one of the principal medium-sized cities of Quebec, along with Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Gatineau.
Municipal population, pre-amalgamation (December 14, 2000)
Ethnic origin (Trois-Rivières Metro Area (2001))
|North American Indian||1,645||1.22%|