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Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec

Rivière-à-Pierre is a municipality of the Portneuf Regional County Municipality, in the administrative region of the Capitale-Nationale. This territory of Laurentian Mountains is part of the Quebec has more than 200 lakes. The village of Rivière-à-Pierre was developed on each side of the river that bears its name. Rivière-à-Pierre is the second largest municipality in the Portneuf RCM in terms of area.

Paix et fidélité (Peace and loyalty)
Location within Portneuf RCM.
Location within Portneuf RCM.
Rivière-à-Pierre is located in Central Quebec
Location in central Quebec
Coordinates: 46°59′N 72°11′W / 46.983°N 72.183°W / 46.983; -72.183Coordinates: 46°59′N 72°11′W / 46.983°N 72.183°W / 46.983; -72.183[1]
Country Canada
Province Quebec
ConstitutedOctober 11, 1897
 • MayorJean Mainguy
 • Federal ridingPortneuf—Jacques-Cartier
 • Prov. ridingPortneuf
 • Total535.10 km2 (206.60 sq mi)
 • Land523.42 km2 (202.09 sq mi)
 • Total671
 • Density1.3/km2 (3/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006–2011
Decrease 3.3%
 • Dwellings
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
Area code(s)418 and 581
Highways Route 367

Rivière-à-Pierre is recognized as the gateway to the Portneuf Wildlife Reserve, bringing many visitors, campers, hikers, hunters and fishermen in this wilderness. Until 1968, many private clubs were active in this area. Its territory is sparsely populated and dotted with many lakes.

The Rivière-à-Pierre railway station, located in the village is served by Via Rail.[4] Many retirees and cottagers to move around lakes of the municipality during the summer. The resorts contributes significantly to the local economy.

Rivière-à-Pierre is recognized as the most important extraction center of architectural stones in Quebec. In Rivière-à-Pierre, many homes and public buildings include granite in their architecture: exterior walls, columns gallery, sidewalks, driveway pavers, patios, stairs, galleries, etc. Stonemasons and stone engravers also put their talents to produce various accessories in granite: picnic tables, fences, poles, street numbers of houses, desks, benches, stands, ornaments, etc. In a village tour, visitors are impressed by the architectural presence of granite.


The village is located at 15 km by the river up to the mouth of the "rivière-à-Pierre". The Church of St. Bernardin de Rivière-à-Pierre is located by road at 23.6 km from the church of Notre-Dame-de-Montauban; 26.6 km from the church of Saint-Léonard-de-Portneuf; 37.1 km from the church of Saint-Raymond of Portneuf; and 96.4 km from Château Frontenac, in Quebec City. Through a forestry road, the distance between the church Rivière-à-Pierre and "Lac Édouard (Lake Edward)" (Haute-Mauricie) is 111 km.[5]

Route 367 passes through the southern part of the village of Riviere-à-Pierre. Formerly, Route 367 linked Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures and Rivière-à-Pierre, via Saint-Raymond. During the 1990s, the road was extended to Lac-aux-Sables through Notre-Dame-de-Montauban.


The watershed of Rivière-à-Pierre is 216 km², the seventh largest pool of Batiscanie.[6] If we include the watershed of White River (Portneuf, Quebec) which is a tributary of Rivière-à-Pierre, this new global watershed is the third largest in Batiscanie.

The territory of the municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre is located in Batiscanie, in the sub-basin of "rivière-à-Pierre" that empties into the Batiscan River. The mouth of the "rivière Blanche" (White River) empties into the rivière-à-Pierre at the level of village of Rivière-à-Pierre, about 300 metres upstream from the church.

The surroundings of the village

The village is surrounded by several small lakes. Upstream of the village (northeast side), lakes Morasse, "lac du milieu" (Middle lake) and "lac de la ferme" (lake of the farm), known as "lac du dépôt" (Deposit lake), are formed by a bulge in the "rivière-à-Pierre", which takes its source in Lake Crystal (far in North East). While "lac Vert" (Green Lake) is located near (West side) of the "lac de la ferme". On the southern of the village, the lake Beaupré is set between the "rivière-à-Pierre" and "Main Street". At about 450 metres to the east, there is the "Lac de la Montagne" (Mountain lake).

Rivière-à-Pierre (upstream of Lake Farm)

Upstream of "Lac de la ferme", the "rivière-à-Pierre" has two major tributaries, namely the "ruisseau Gervais" (Gervais stream) and "Petite Rivière Batiscan" (Little Batiscan river). The "rivière-à-Pierre" flows from North-East to South-West and comprises several groups of water bodies in his head, including:

  • Lake Cristal which receives the discharge of Lake Vautri (which is surrounded by a dozen small lakes, even higher);
  • Lake Pierre (surrounded by seven small lakes that empty into it) flows into the "Petit Lac Batiscan" which in turn flows into the "Petite Rivière Batiscan".
  • Lake Gervais discharges into "Gervais stream", which joins 2 km further south "Little Lake Scott". The "Gervais stream" continues 2 km south to empty into Lake Landry; 3.3 km further south Gervais Creek empties into the "rivière-à-Pierre".

At 4.8 km to the south of the discharge of Gervais stream, "rivière-à-Pierre" joins the "Lac à l'orignal" (Moose Lake). Ten kilometres lower, after getting few small tributaries, the "rivière-à-Pierre" flows into the "lac de la ferme" (lake of the farm), at northeast of the village of Rivière-à-Pierre.

The docking station of the "rivière-à-Pierre" the Portneuf Wildlife Reserve is located at the "Chute of Marmite" (Fall of the pot), 4.4 km from the village of Rivière-à-Pierre or 2.2 kilometres northeast of the "Lake of the farm". Rivière-à-Pierre (usually including a strip about 0.5 miles east of the river) defines the eastern part of the territory of the Portneuf Wildlife Reserve from the docking station and back to the northeast to Lake Crystal. However, the boundary of the reserve has an exception for about 3.5 km, where it encroaches further east on the territory of the Zec Batiscan-Neilson, to a depth of 2.8 km to 4.0 km, to integrate lakes Parke, Cord and "local".

White River

The White River watershed covers a considerable (neighbor on the west side of the upper basin of the "rivière-à-Pierre"), taking its source at Lake Blanc for which a dam is built at its mouth. Over a dozen small lakes surrounding flow into White Lake. Down, the waters of the White River flow into a series of lakes to the village of Rivière-à-Pierre: Lupe lakes, Ralph Gilles, Tony lietto and Lorenzo.

The Portneuf Wildlife Reserve includes the middle portion of the watershed of the White River. Going North on the White River, we reached the southern boundary of the reserve is located 6.3 km (direct line) from the village of Rivière-à-Pierre. While the latter water bodies before the northern boundary of the reserve are lakes Central and Perrière. The northern part of the watershed of the White River is integrated into the "Zec de la Rivière-Blanche", including lakes Lorenzo and Tonty.


The first settlers arrived in Rivière-à-Pierre around 1880, living of forestry and agriculture. The first batches of the pioneers acquired lands around "lac Vert" (Green Lake), uptstream of the village. The place was known at that time as the "Mission du canton de Bois" (Mission of Bois Township), named after Louis-Édouard Bois (1813–1889), former priest of Maskinongé and historian of French Canada.[7]

Shortly thereafter, the granite was discovered, which led to the development of granite quarries in artisanal mode. The arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1888 gave rise to the population and economic importance. Simultaneously, the exploitation of granite stone has grown to become a predominant industry in Rivière-à-Pierre.

In 1884, the parish of Saint-Bernardin-de-Sienne was formed.[1]

In 1888, the railroad linking Garneau Jonction to Lac-Saint-Jean was built through the fledgling village of Rivière-à-Pierre, resulting in a boost of new settlers. That same year, the post office and the Rivière-à-Pierre railway station opened, followed by the chapel in 1890. In 1897, the "municipalité du canton de Bois" (Municipality of Township Bois) was established with Joseph-N. Perron as first mayor.[8]

In 1928, the Electricity Company was established, operating a hydro-electric dam in the "Chute de la Marmite" (Kettle Falls), located north of the village. In 1947, the Shawinigan Water & Power Company has acquired the local power company.

The route 367 to Saint-Raymond Road was built in 1936 (not paved until 1976). Before 1936, the only road suitable for motor vehicles was that one between Rivière-à-Pierre Notre-Dame-des-Anges. In 1948, the "Municipalité du canton de Bois" (Municipality of Township Bois) became the "Municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre".[8]

Saint George College was built in 1938. From 1903, the boarding school "École Saint-Joseph du Sacré-Coeur" (St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart) educated youth. Sisters servants of Saint-Coeur-de-Marie have operated this school until its closure in 1970. This former convent has served as externship from 1970 until March 1982, because the school Saint-Coeur-de-Marie was built in 1981–1982 and inaugurated on 6 June 1982. Finally, the convent was demolished in 1986 to erect a community centre.

In 1968, the Portneuf Wildlife Reserve begins its activities.

In 1990, the citizens of Rivière-à-Pierre actively participated in the centenary celebrations of the parish. The Millennium Monument grey granite was unveiled, with the inscriptions of welcome, "Goodbye" and the commemoration of the locality.


Population trend:[9]

Year Population Variation (%)
2011 671  -3,3%
2006 694  +0,1%
2001 689  -0,1%
1996 694  +3,3%
1991 672

Private dwellings occupied by usual residents: 304 (total dwellings: 574)

Mother tongue:

  • English as first language: 0%
  • French as first language: 100%
  • English and French as first language: 0%
  • Other as first language: 0%


The name "Rivière-à-Pierre" was recorded as of December 5, 1968 to the register of the "Commission de toponymie du Québec" (Toponymic Commission of Quebec). "As the riverbed Pierre (toponym used as Rivière-à-Pierre since at least 1829 by the surveyor Jean-Pierre Proulx) was once considered very rocky and it was their way through many crags, it seemed quite natural to assign this name, which has been transposed to a municipality in the Portneuf region in 1948."[10]

Is the name of the river connected to the toponym "Lac-à-Pierre" (lake of stones) at the head of the "Petite Rivière Batiscan" (North-East of the village of Rivière-à-Pierre) which flows through a succession of lakes up to the "rivière-à-Pierre": "Petit Lac Batiscan", Parke Lake and "Lac du coin"? In this region, rivers and lakes generally have a bed of stony nature.

The "Canton de Bois" (Township of Bois) originates from the Abbot Louis-Édouard Bois, bibliophile, who wrote an edition of the Jesuit Relations.[11] The "Municipalité of canton Bois" (Municipality of Township Bois) was incorporated in 1897 and adopted the name "Rivière-à-Pierre" in 1948. Railway station built on the edge of the railway line Garneau-Junction-Lac-Saint-Jean, already bore the name "Rivière-à-Pierre-Station".

Municipal administrationEdit

The parish of the canton Wood was established civil Oct. 11, 1897.

First mayor: Josph-N. Perron from 1893. Actual mayor: Ghislaine Noreau, since 2009.[12]


Multi-functional trackEdit

Railway station of Rivière-à-Pierre is the terminal point (e.g. at the 68th km) of multi-functional track Jacques Cartier/Portneuf, which is referred to as the no. 6 of the "Green Route" from 2007 and "Trans Canada Trail" bike lanes. The development project of this track was initiated in 1993 by leaders of the region and was officially opened to the public in July 1998. Thanks to the efforts of municipality of regional county municipality (RCM) of Portneuf and RCM of Jacques-Cartier for the acquisition of land. This track has been built on the influence of the old disused railway CNR, designated "Corridor des cheminots ("Corridor of Railroad employees"), linking Rivière-à-Pierre to Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier.[13] From Rivière-à-Pierre, the former railway corridor crosses from east to west, a series of villages in Portneuf County generally in parallel of Route 367:

This track has various service points (nearby) for walkers accommodation: restaurant, convenience store, public restrooms, rest areas, shelters, picnic tables, a few water points, parking, etc. It also offers enchanting scenery and observation sites (e.g.: the "Chute à l'ours" (fall of the bear) at km. 48.5) with lookouts. This track also connects to other trails (e.g. track Dansereau at 16th km, between Pont-Rouge and Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier) or mountain bike tracks. In summer, this "route verte" (Green road) track is mostly taken by cyclists, walkers and rollerbladers, and in winter, by followers of rackets, skiing or walking.

In Rivière-à-Pierre, the Municipal Council has contributed to the development on the edge of the track, including the construction of a docking station with permanent toilets. In addition, companies granite Rivière-à-Pierre have fabricated picnic tables in granite at the reception.

Granite quarryEdit

At the beginning of the colonization of Rivière-à-Pierre, the operation of granite stone was a craftman approach. The stone was cut by hand tools using the power men's force. Granite industry has grown with the arrival of the railway Grand Trunk which came to the village in 1888 from the "Basse Mauricie" (Lower Mauricie). This railway connects the Mauricie to Lac Saint-Jean. The first major quarries were those of Joseph-N. Perron and Fortunat Voyer in 1894. The pink granite of the Langelier building in the city of Quebec came from the quarry of Fortunat Voyer.[15]

In the early 20th century, near the village, two new pink granite quarries started their production, one of which has provided the equivalent of two thousand wagons of stone used in the erection of pillars of Quebec Bridge in 1907.[16] From 1920 to 1960, new quarries started for the extraction of pink granite.

In 1938, the merger of companies Dumas and Arthur Fortunat Voyer et Fils, which began the new company Dumas et Voyer, contributed to the growth of the industry according to Quebec Natural Resources website.[15]

In 2005, 17 quarries producing panels and slices of stone, which serve in a variety of stone products, including monuments, walks, curbs, paving stones, the collection of buildings, making tile. Stonemasons also shape parts ordered on stones.[15]

The 1960s marked the operational phase the most significant in the history of Rivière-à-Pierre, while 18 new granite quarries come into activities. The extraction of green granite began in 1961, by the "White Diamond Granite" company. This variety of granite, designated Forest Green or Green Atlantic, became popular after being chosen as the materials for the erection in 1983 of the headquarters building of the IBM company in New York City. Two new quarries producing brown granite, began in 1962 by Dumas et Voyer company; the variety Caledonia is extracted and is particularly known for its purity.

Since the discovery of granite Rivière-à-Pierre, fifty quarries were exploited. In the second half of the 19th century, small family quarries and/or craftman have been replaced or acquired by larger companies. Modern facilities for sawing stone and transport have supplanted the old means of extraction.

Granite Interpretation CentreEdit

Built in 1947, the fire tower built in front of the town hall, formerly used for drying fire hoses in village of Rivière-à-Pierre. Today, this building is occupied by the Granite Interpretation Centre. The fire tower is one of the few still remaining in Quebec.[17]

This fire tower building was renovated in 2002 by the municipality. Craftmans of companies working in the granite in Rivière-à-Pierre contributed to its development, particularly in manufacturing picnic tables at the reception of the multifunctional trail Jacques-Cartier/Portneuf. Formed at the initiative of the citizens of Rivière-à-Pierre, interpretation center, which began operations in the summer of 2002, highlights the granite which is a plutonic rock composed of quartz, mica and feldspar crystallized in form of grains visible to the eye.[18] According to geologists, there are at least twelve different kinds of granites coming from granite quarries in Rivière-à-Pierre, which are not all commercially exploited. This granite is one of the finest natural and distinctive, which is widely recognized in Quebec in Canada and the rest of the North America for its quality and its color. This stone is also exported globally, including Japan, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and South Korea.

The Granite Interpretation Centre in the village of Rivière-à-Pierre presents in-depth operations, processing, transport, market and derived products from granite. The Centre highlights that, in 1934, during the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Jacques Cartier in North America, the parish of Canton (Township) Bois (now referred to as "Municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre") has contributed to the erection of the Cross of Gaspé. This monolithic cross inaugurated on August 25, 1934 in Gaspé, was cut in the "Carrière Auguste Dumas et Cie" (Quarry of Auguste Dumas & Cie) in Rivière-à-Pierre.

Stonemasons and stone engravers have the merit of having contributed to many granite architectural works from Rivière-à-Pierre, including: Olympia York, Toronto Dominion, Battery Park New York, the National War Memorial near the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Quebec Bridge pillars, The Citadel (Quebec), metros stations in Montreal, Grand Séminaire de Québec, Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré as of 1923 which burned on March 29, 1922, curbs and roads in Quebec, in Ontario, in New Brunswick and in United States, base sections of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, building Parthenais in Montreal built around 1965, skyscraper Philip Morris in New York City built in 1982–83, along the quay walls of the Saint-Charles River in the Quebec City... Almost all cemeteries Quebec have tombstones and monuments, includes pieces of granite which were extracted (and/or cut) at Rivière-à-Pierre in the history.

Located in front of City Hall (835 rue Principale (Main Street), Rivière-à-Pierre – Tel.: 418-323-2112), the Granite Interpretation Centre is open to visitors during the summer season.[19]

"Marmite" FallEdit

At 4,4 km from the center of the village; or 2.2 km northeast of the "Lake of the farm", in the North-East, along the "rivière-à-Pierre" road, the "Chute de la marmite" (fall of the pot) has particular geological character. On a long run, the rushing waters of the river worn the rock creating many pots ("marmites" in French). The site "Chute de la Marmite" is ideal for nature lovers and a public park was built around. From 1928, the Electricity Company operated a hydroelectric dam at the "Marmite Fall". In addition, the Eastern front door "Rivière-à-Pierre" of the Portneuf Wildlife Reserve is situated in the Fall of Marmite.

Railway stationEdit

The Montreal-Jonquière rail link is still in operation, both for the transport of goods and for travellers. Rivière-à-Pierre railway station is still used to serve travellers. A while ago, the railway line that once linked Rivière-à-Pierre directly to Quebec (through the Portneuf County) was dismantled. The Jacques-Cartier/Portneuf multifunctional trail has been built on the foundations of the former line of Railroads Canadian National Railway.

Church and rectoryEdit

The Catholic parish of "Saint-Bernardin-de-Sienne" (St. Bernardine of Siena) was established canonically in 1890. The church was built in 1909 based on plans designed by the architect Joseph-Georges Bussières. Granite of Rivière-à-Pierre has been used for the erection St. Bernardin's Church, the presbytery and the replica of the cross of Gaspé. The flight of steps and two large staircases, in front of the church, are also made of gray granite stone. On August 22, 1937, a chair of carved granite built in three monolithics pieces by Jos Lassonde, Patrice Tremblay and Omer Laroche was installed in the Church of "Saint-Bernardin" (St. Bernardin) at Rivière-à-Pierre. On 14 May 1954, the Chair of granite was transported to Montmartre Canadian, on Blvd. Saint-Louis, Quebec City. Then 36 years later, during celebrations of the centenary of Rivière-à-Pierre in 1990, this chair was returned to Rivière-à-Pierre.

Replica of the cross of GaspéEdit

A replica of the cross of Gaspé was built in the village of Rivière-à-Pierre. This cross is half of the height of the original cross of Gaspé erected in Gaspé.

The monolithic original cross installed in Gaspé had been cut in 1934, from a block of gray granite extracted from the career of Auguste Dumas at Rivière-à-Pierre. This cross of Gaspé that weighs more than 42 tons, was transported by two railway wagon from Rivière-à-Pierre. Then the cross was carried on a coaster to dock of Gaspé. This cross was erected on its base using a rail system of pulleys and cables, driven by the strength of many horses. A commemorative plaque, located at the foot of the cross of Gaspé, was inaugurated on August 23, 2009, in memory of artisans of Rivière-à-Pierre who extracted and cut the block of stone, which became a monolithic cross.[20]

Built in 1934 and sponsored by the federal government to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of French explorer Jacques Cartier in Gaspé Bay, July 24, 1534, the Gaspé cross is 32 feet in height. The original craftsmen would be listed at the top.

Photos galleryEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Rivière-à-Pierre (municipalité)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
  2. ^ a b "Rivière-à-Pierre – Répertoire des municipalités – Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Occupation du territoire". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  3. ^ a b "Census Profile". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  4. ^ "Gare de Rivière-à-Pierre | VIA Rail". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  5. ^ This search was conducted by historian Gaétan Veillette (Saint-Hubert), using the Google Maps website in January 2013.
  6. ^ "Plan directeur de l'eau du bassin versant de la riviere Batisacan : 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-24. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  7. ^ "Biography – BOIS, LOUIS-ÉDOUARD – Volume XI (1881–1890) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  8. ^ a b "Historique de la municipalité – Dates significatives" (in French). Municipalité Rivière-à-Pierre. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
  9. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  10. ^ "Fiche descriptive". 1968-12-05. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  11. ^ "Advanced Search – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  12. ^ "Rivière-à-Pierre :: Historique de la municipalité". 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  13. ^ "Rivière-à-Pierre :: Info no. 30". Archived from the original on 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  14. ^ Stephane Lapointe. "Pistes cyclables de Rivière-à-Pierre, Québec, Canada". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  15. ^ a b c "MERN – Historique – Rivière-à-Pierre". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  16. ^ "Rivière-à-Pierre – Des hommes de pierre – Histoires oubliées". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  17. ^ "MRC de Portneuf". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  18. ^ [1] Archived October 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Retrieved February 27, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  20. ^ Journal Le Soleil, August 22, 2009, journalist Johanne Martin, article "Croix de Gaspé: des origines reconnues" (Cross of Gaspé: origins recognized), describing the commemorative plaque of unveiling origin, inaugurated on August 23, 2009, located at the foot of the cross of Gaspé, in the memory craftsmen who made the cross in 1934.