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Trois-Rivières is a city in the Mauriciemarker region of Quebecmarker, Canadamarker, located along the densely populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and Saint Lawrence Riversmarker. 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 Quebecmarker, coextensive with the city of Trois-Rivières. Its geographical code is 371.

Together with the regional county municipality of Les Chenauxmarker, 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 is the economic and cultural hub of the Mauriciemarker region. It lies at the halfway point between Montrealmarker and Quebec Citymarker, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence Rivermarker across from the city of Bécancourmarker. It was founded on July 4, 1634, the second permanent settlement in New France, after Quebec city in 1608. Its location at the three-pronged mouth of the Saint-Maurice River is the source of its name, which is French for three rivers. Traditionally, Trois-Rivières was referred to in English as Three Rivers, although in more recent decades it has been referred to as Trois-Rivières in both English and French. The anglicized name still appears in many areas of the town (e.g., the city's Three Rivers Academy), bearing witness to the influence of English settlers in the town. The city's inhabitants are known as "Trifluviens" (Trifluvians).

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-Rivièresmarker. The track hosts American Le Mans Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, and the Formula Atlantic events. Notable landmarks include the Forges du Saint-Mauricemarker, a foundry dating back to the 1730s, the Ursulines Monastery, and Notre-Dame-du-Cap Basilicamarker.

On January 1, 2002, the former city of Trois-Rivières along with the neighbouring towns of Cap-de-la-Madeleinemarker, Sainte-Marthe-du-Capmarker, Saint-Louis-de-Francemarker, Trois-Rivières-Ouestmarker, and the municipality of Pointe-du-Lacmarker, were amalgamated to form the new city of Trois-Rivières. The Trois-Rivières metropolitan area also includes the city of Bécancourmarker.


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 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. Additional of the original city of Trois-Rivières include: Pierre Boucher, Jacques Le Neuf, Jean Godefroy de Lintot, Michel Le Neuf du Hérisson, François Hertel, Quentin Moral, Sieur de St. Quentin, François, Marguerie, René Robineau, and Jean Sauvaget. The city was second to be founded in New France (after Quebec Citymarker, before Montrealmarker) 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-Rivièresmarker (part of the ill-fated Invasion of the province of Québec by Americansmarker from the Bostonmarker area—les Bostonnais) during the American Revolutionary War.

The front of the Ursulines Monastery, on rue des Ursulines.
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 Bridgemarker, 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-Rivièresmarker, 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 Montrealmarker and capital of Quebec Citymarker. It does, however, remain one of the principal medium-sized cities of Quebec, along with Saguenaymarker, Sherbrookemarker and Gatineaumarker.



Trois-Rivières is Canada's oldest industrial city, with its first foundry established in 1738. The forge produced iron and cast for 150 years, much of it being shipped to France to be used in Royal Navy ships. The first port facility was built in 1818 near rue Saint-Antoine, and today handles 2.5 million tonnes of cargo annually. The first railway was built in 1879 to support the growing lumber industry.

The city was known as the pulp and paper industry capital of the world from the late 1920s until the early 1960s. The city once had four mills in operation. Today, there are two mills left operating (Kruger Trois-Rivières and Kruger Wayagamack), the closures largely due to decline in newsprint demand and globalization. The closures were not just limited to the pulp and paper industry; Trois-Rivières experienced an industrial decline in the 1980s and 1990s, with unemployment rising to 14 percent in the 1990s.

Trois-Rivières is attempting an industrial revitalization by establishing technology parks and taking advantage of its central location to both Montréal and Québec City, its university and port. An example of the new economy is Marmen Incorporated, which manufactures wind turbine towers and employs 1,000 people between its operations in Trois-Rivières and Matanemarker.

The city's other prominent industries include metal transformation, electronics, thermoplastics, as well as the production of food crops and cabinet making. An industrial park adjoining Trois-Rivières Airportmarker also serves as a major centre for the aeronautical industry.


Trois-Rivières hosts the FestiVoix de Trois-Rivières, a 10-day summer music festival which attracts in excess of 300,000 visitors annually. The city also hosts the Festival International de la Poésie, an international poetry festival as well as the Festival International Danse Encore. In 2009, Trois-Rivières was designated as the 2009 Cultural Capital of Canada for cities with a population of 125,000 or more.


Prior to amalgamation in 2001, the new city of Trois-Rivières was divided among six municipalities.

Municipal population, pre-amalgamation (December 14, 2000)
Municipality Population
Trois-Rivières 48 285
Cap-de-la-Madeleine 32 927
Trois-Rivières-Ouest 24 170
Saint-Louis-de-France 7 798
Pointe-du-Lac 6 846
Sainte-Marthe-du-Cap 6 428
Total 126 454

Ethnic origin (Trois-Rivières Metro Area (2001))
Ethnic Origin Population Percent
Canadian 112,300 83.40%
French 44,075 32.73%
Irish 3,030 2.25%
African Canadian 1,645 1.22%
Asian 1,620 1.20%
English 1,380 1.02%

Age Structure
  • 0–14 years: 16.1%
  • 15–64 years: 68.6%
  • 65 years and over: 15.3%

Religious Groups



Sister city

See also


  1. Roy-Sole, Monique. "A Tale of Tenacity", Canadian Geographic Magazine, April 2009, Vol. 129, No. 2, p. 31
  2. Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières
  3. untitled
  4. Report Concerning the Archives of Canada for the year 1905. Vol I. of III., p. li.
  5. Roy-Sole, Monique. "A Tale of Tenacity", Canadian Geographic Magazine, April 2009, Vol. 129, No. 2, p. 32
  6. Roy-Sole, Monique. "A Tale of Tenacity", Canadian Geographic Magazine, April 2009, Vol. 129, No. 2, p. 35
  7. Roy-Sole, Monique. "A Tale of Tenacity", Canadian Geographic Magazine, April 2009, Vol. 129, No. 2, p. 36
  8. Roy-Sole, Monique. "A Tale of Tenacity", Canadian Geographic Magazine, April 2009, Vol. 129, No. 2, p. 37
  10. Roy-Sole, Monique. "A Tale of Tenacity", Canadian Geographic Magazine, April 2009, Vol. 129, No. 2, p. 38
  11. Ville de Trois-Rivières
  12. The information regarding ethnicities is from the 2001 Canadian Census. The percentages add to more than 100% because of dual responses (e.g. "French-Canadian" generates an entry in both the category "French" and the category "Canadian".) Groups with greater than 1,250 responses are included.

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