Infobox Settlement
name =Shawinigan, Quebec
settlement_type = City
official_name = Ville de Shawinigan
other_name =
native_name =
nickname = The City of Electricity
settlement_type =
motto = Age Quod Agis ("Do what you are doing")

imagesize =
image_caption = Downtown Shawinigan

flag_size = 225px

seal_size =
image_shield =
shield_size =
city_logo =
citylogo_size =

mapsize = 200px
map_caption = Location of Pagename

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

dot_mapsize =
dot_map_caption =
dot_x = |dot_y =

pushpin_label_position =
pushpin_map_caption =
pushpin_mapsize =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name =
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 =
subdivision_type2 = Region
subdivision_name2 = Mauricie
subdivision_type3 =
subdivision_name3 =
subdivision_type4 =
subdivision_name4 =
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Lise Landry
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
leader_title2 =
leader_name2 =
leader_title3 =
leader_name3 =
leader_title4 =
leader_name4 =
established_title = Founded
established_date = 1901
established_title2 = Incorporated (town)
established_date2 = 1902
established_title3 = Incorporated (city)
established_date3 = 1958
area_magnitude =
unit_pref = Metric
area_footnotes =
area_total_km2 =
area_land_km2 = 733.27
area_water_km2 =
area_total_sq_mi =
area_land_sq_mi =
area_water_sq_mi =
area_water_percent =
area_urban_km2 = 109.94
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 = 962.69
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2006
population_footnotes = [ [ Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data] - Statistics Canada, retrieved september 22 2007]
population_note =
population_total = 51904
population_density_km2 = 70.8
population_density_sq_mi =
population_metro =56434
population_density_metro_km2 =58.6
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban =49236
population_density_urban_km2 =447.8
population_density_urban_sq_mi =
population_blank1_title =Language
population_blank1 =French (98%)
population_density_blank1_km2 =
population_density_blank1_sq_mi =
timezone = EST
utc_offset = −5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = −4
latd= |latm= |lats= |latNS=
longd= |longm= |longs= |longEW=
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m =
elevation_ft =
postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code = 819
blank_name =
blank_info =
blank1_name =
blank1_info =
website = [ Shawinigan official site]
footnotes =
Shawinigan is a city located on the Saint-Maurice River in the Mauricie area in Quebec, Canada. It has a population of approximately 51,904 people (2006).

Shawinigan is also a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) and census division (CD) of Quebec, coextensive with the city of Shawinigan. Its geographical code is 23.


Before Shawinigan Falls was established, the local economy had been largely based on lumber and agriculture.


In the late 1890s, Shawinigan Falls drew the interest of foreign entrepreneurs such as John Joyce and J. E. Aldred of the Shawinigan, Water & Power Company (SW&P), and of Hubert Biermans of the Belgo Company because of its particular geographic situation. Its falls had the potential to become a favorable location for the production of hydroelectricity. [ [ Transactions 2004: Life, Learning and the Arts] , The Royal Society of Canada, November 19, 2004]

In 1899, the SW&P commissioned Montreal engineering firm Pringle and Son to design a grid plan for a new industrial town on the banks of the Saint-Maurice River, providing the ground work for what would become downtown Shawinigan. [ [ Power and Planning: Industrial Towns in Québec, 1890-1950] , CCA, 1996]

In 1901, Shawinigan Falls was incorporated and became the site of the first production of aluminum in Canadian history. [ [ Alcan célèbre le centenaire de la production d'aluminium au Canada] , Alcan Inc., November 1, 2001] Other industries included pulp and paper, chemical production and textiles.

Shawinigan Falls also became one of the first Canadian cities with electric street lighting.

For decades, the local pulp and paper, chemical and textile industries created thousands of jobs. The city steadily grew eastward and northward. Meanwhile on the other side of the river, Shawinigan-Sud (then Almaville) developed as a residential hub.

Shawinigan Falls also had a vibrant English-speaking community, which at times comprised more than 30% of the population. Early on, members of the French-speaking majority and the more privileged English-speaking minority settled in segregated neighbourhoods.

Great Depression

Local prosperity was interrupted by the Great Depression in the 1930s. Many plants were forced to temporarily reduce or stop their production, which left many residents jobless. Many families needed public assistance to survive. The City Council enacted a public works program to help families.

World War II

World War II put Shawinigan Falls, and many others cities in Canada, back on the path of economic recovery.

During hostilities, the windows of local power plants were painted black to prevent any possible German aerial attack.

The Shawinigan-based 81st Artillery Battery was called to active duty during World War II. Its members were trained in Ontario and the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1944 and contributed to the Allies' effort in the Normandy Landings in 1944-45, which led to the Liberation of France. [J.J. Bellemare, 60 ans d'artillerie en Mauricie, Shawinigan, 1996]

In 1948, a cenotaph, known as Monument des Braves, was erected in downtown Shawinigan at the intersection of Fourth Street and Promenade du Saint-Maurice (then Riverside Street) near the Saint-Maurice River, in honour of soldiers who died during that conflict as well as World War I.

Union battleground

Because of its large labor population, Shawinigan became a hot bed for trade union activities. The workers of the Belgo pulp and paper plant went on strike in 1955.

In the 1952 provincial election, Shawinigan sent a Liberal member to the legislature. The gesture was largely considered an affront to anti-labour Premier Maurice Duplessis.

Duplessis responded by refusing to approve the construction of a new bridge between Shawinigan and Shawinigan-Sud. The new bridge was not built until after the Liberal Party won the 1960 election.


In the 1950s, Shawinigan Falls entered a period of decline that would last for several decades.

Technological improvements made industries less dependent on Shawinigan's geographic location. Therefore, many employers would relocate nearby larger cities or close down.

As a reaction to declining opportunities, many residents, many of whom were English-speakers, left the area. Shawinigan High School is the only remaining English-language school in the city following the closure of St. Patrick's (closed circa 1983).

In 1963, the provincial government of Jean Lesage nationalized eleven privately owned electricity companies including SW&P. While benefiting the population in general, the decision may have been damaging to local interests.

Emerging hospitality industry

Following numerous failed attempts to jump start the local economy, an effort has led to the development of the hospitality industry. The most notable example of that initiative is the establishment of La Cité de l'Énergie, a theme park based on local industrial history, with a 115 metre high observation tower. Since it opened in 1997, it has attracted thousands of visitors to the area.

Merger (2001)

In 2001, Shawinigan amalgamated with much of the Regional County Municipality of Le Centre-de-la-Mauricie. The following municipalities were part of the merger:

Children who meet Charter of the French Language guidelines can attend "Shawinigan High School". Its campus is located at 1125, rue des Cèdres and is affiliated to the "Central Québec school Board".

Shawinigan is also home of the Séminaire Sainte-Marie, a private institution that provides the secondary curriculum and of the Collège Shawinigan: a CEGEP whose main campus is located at 2263 Avenue du Collège;


Many of the oldest streets of Shawinigan were numbered, like the streets of Manhattan, New York. Similarly, Avenue Broadway was named after the famous thoroughfare, located in the same borough.

Several other streets and avenues were named to honor famous people, including:
* George-Étienne Cartier
* Samuel de Champlain
* Dollard des Ormeaux
* Peter Julian Eymard
* Comte de Frontenac
* King George V
* Lomer Gouin
* Victor Hugo
* Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville
* Marshal Joseph Joffre
* Pope John XXIII
* Curé Labelle
* Monsignor Louis-François Laflèche
* Sieur de La Salle
* Wilfrid Laurier
* Calixa Lavallée
* Honoré Mercier
* Marquis de Montcalm
* Pierre Laporte
* Cardinal Richelieu
* Basile Routhier
* Jean Talon
* Major General Georges Vanier

Landmarks and notable institutions

* The Trou du Diable (Devil's Hole): this mysterious location consists of a swirl in the Saint-Maurice River nearby the falls. Legend has it, the Trou du Diable has no bottom, making it impossible to rescue anyone who falls into it; [ [ Brasserie Le Trou du Diable] ]
* Parc Saint-Maurice: located in downtown Shawinigan, it was part of the city's original plan.
* the 62nd (Shawinigan) Field Artillery Regiment: a militia unit of the Canadian Army which was called to active duty during World War II;
* La Cité de l'Énergie;
* the Shawinigan Cataractes: the only QMJHL franchise to have stayed in the same city since the league's inception in 1969. They play at the Arena Jacques Plante (855 Rue Broadway);
* the Shawinigan-Sud Tax Center;

Famous people

The city is home to:
* Peter Blaikie, a prominent lawyer;
* Jean Chrétien, who was Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003;
* Louise Forestier, who is a singer and an actress;
* Martin Gélinas, a National Hockey League (NHL) player;
* Jacques Lacoursière, a renowned historian;
* Carole Laure, an actress;
* Jacques Plante, an NHL goaltender
* Camil Samson, who was Member of the provincial legislature for the district of Rouyn-Noranda and the Leader of the Ralliement créditiste du Québec;

Annual events

* The "Classique internationale de canots de la Mauricie": a prestigious marathon canoe race, held annually since 1934.
* Grand-Mère's Fête nationale du Québec celebration: consisting of a bonfire and a live performance from local musicians, its audience arguably ranks among the largest crowds in the Mauricie area. It takes place at the Parc de la rivière Grand-Mère. [ [ La fête nationale en Mauricie] , Karine Parenteau, Voir, June 22, 2006] The tradition goes back decades ago. [ [ Vandalisme dans le parc de la rivière Grand-Mère] , Clin d'oeil historique, L'Hebdo du St-Maurice, February 23, 2007]

ister city

*flagicon|Canada Hamilton, Canada
*flagicon|Mexico Monterrey, Mexico


*The word "Shawinigan" means "portage at the crest" in Algonquian, referring to the nearby waterfall. Before 1958 the city was known as Shawinigan Falls.
*Traditionally, residents of Shawinigan have made a distinction between "downtown" (bas de la ville) and "uptown" (haut de la ville) Shawinigan. Downtown consists of the oldest and lowest section of town, near the river. Other sections, such as Saint-Marc and Christ-Roi (Christ the King) neighborhoods are built on higher ground and are considered uptown. Côte Saint-Marc is considered the transition between both.
*Likewise, Shawinigan-Sud has been divided into "Almaville-en-Bas" (down) and "Almaville-en-Haut" (up) in popular culture.
*Until the early 1950s, children under 16 years old had to observe a 9:00 p.m. curfew everyday. [Fabien LaRochelle, Shawinigan depuis 75 ans, 1976]
*Rue Mercier (Mercier Street), which is located in downtown Shawinigan, was named to honor Premier Honoré Mercier.
*Until 2001, Shawinigan contained one of the tallest guyed masts in Canada, the CBC Tower.



* [ Shawinigan official site]

External links

* [ Tourisme Mauricie] Regional tourist office

Administrative divisions of Quebec region|Mauricie

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Look at other dictionaries:

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