Portrait of the Mauricie
The Mauricie encompasses a far-reaching territory, 39,748 km2 in size. It stretches north from the majestic St. Lawrence River on up the Saint-Maurice River, to the edge of Abitibi and the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. To the west it is bordered by the Lanaudière region and to the east it neighbours the Québec region. is. Situated halfway between the province’s two major cities, Montréal and Québec City, the region is no more than a 90-minute drive from either of these two urban centres.
The landscape has been shaped by the Canadian Shield to the north and the vast alluvial plain bordering the St. Lawrence River. The Saint-Maurice River, with its 587 km-long drainage basin, is the region’s foremost waterway. Four other pristine rivers flank the Saint-Maurice as it empties into the St. Lawrence. The Saint-Anne and Batiscan rivers to the east and the “Du Loup” and Maskinongé rivers to the west are equally important to the economic and recreational industries of these areas. Lake St-Pierre has also had a significant impact, insofar as it was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in November 2000. Lake St-Pierre is the sole example of a sustainable development undertaking, recognized by the UN, which can boast a world-class, navigable waterway, part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, from one end of its territory to the other. “La Mauricie”, which was named the Forestry Capital of Canada for 2001, includes a national park, some 75 outfitters, 11 ZECs (controlled exploitation zones), two wildlife reserves and a number of regional parks.
Mgr. Albert Tessier was the first, back in 1933, to coin the expression « Mauricie » to designate the region between Trois-Rivières and the shores of Lac Saint-Jean. Up to then, it had simply been known as the Saint-Maurice Valley. In 1634, Samuel de Champlain commissioned the Sieur de Laviolette to establish a new fort to serve as an outpost for the fur trade. Champlain ordered Laviolette to travel to the mouth of the Saint-Maurice River, then known as the Three Rivers. In a very short time, the population of settlers in the seigneurie of “the Three Rivers” extended to the south shore of the St. Lawrence.
In 1730, the discovery of iron led to Canada’s first ironworks, the Forges-du-Saint-Maurice, which was a major contribution to economic growth for the next 150 years. Soon after of the smelters came the hydroelectric dams, which allowed the pulp and paper, aluminum and metals industries to thrive, generating vast economic benefits for the entire region.
The Mauricie invites you to discover its past through the historic and archaeological sites that bear witness to its history.
Major industries continue to propel the regional economies of the Mauricie, which is now in a state of flux. The Saint-Maurice River, for example, first used for hydroelectric power and as a waterway and means of transportation for floating logs to the pulp and paper mills, today has a new calling. Thanks to the end of the log drive in 1996, the river is now used for sports and recreation.
The Mauricie, land of leisure and hospitality
Friendly, dynamic and hospitable, the people of the region delight in sharing their joie de vivre with visitors. Attentive hosts welcome you to cozy hotels and restaurants where the quality of the service is equalled only by the warmth and courtesy of the staff. As well, the Mauricie is an area rich in culture and heritage that hosts large-scale international events. Whether you’re here for the thundering sounds of car and snowmobile races, the languorous rhythms of poetry readings or the frenzied galloping of rodeos, you’re guaranteed a wide range of diverse experiences.
The Mauricie, with its rich variety of natural resources, has plenty to offer in the area of recreational tourism. The forests and waterways that cover 90% of its territory allow visitors to enjoy a number of activities: hunting, fishing, pleasure boating, top-notch wilderness resorts, snowmobiling, canoe-camping, rustic camping and adventure excursions among others. Come to the Mauricie and discover Québec’s real nature!