Home - The Human Side of Lake Saint-Pierre
Virtual Museum of Canada

Lake Saint-Pierre

Navigation on Lake Saint-Pierre

Founded in 1634, Trois-Rivières is the second oldest city in Canada. Since its beginnings, it has been a bustling port city.

White sailboat on the St. Lawrence, in front of Trois-Rivières

The wide expanse of Lake Saint-Pierre is a popular destination for a wide range of nautical activities.

White sailboat nearing Laviolette Bridge and two commercial ships on the horizon.
Sailboat nearing Laviolette Bridge (Trois-Rivières)

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The wind is generally strong enough here to fill sails, making navigation easier. The sails harmonize with the landscape, seeming almost to have been carved out of the blue sky.

Two people aboard a sailboat on the St. Lawrence
Panorama of Lake Saint-Pierre from Pointe-du-Lac

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This imposing lighthouse stands guard in the middle of the lake; it helps ships stay in the St. Lawrence Seaway and avoid running aground.

Red and white lighthouse in the middle of Lake Saint-Pierre
Driftwood on the shore, lighthouse and commercial ship on the St. Lawrence River
Lighthouse on the St. Lawrence, built in 1907, seen from Anse du Port ecological park in Nicolet.

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For many years, Port Saint-François played a major role in the commercial development of the Nicolet region. Every day, five or six ships loaded with goods and passengers would dock at the port.

Four girls on the wharf of Port Saint-François in Nicolet, 1911
Photograph taken in 1911 at the wharf of Port Saint-François in Nicolet

When the railroads opened in 1845, they immediately came into competition with the port. Furthermore, an immense ice jam in the spring of 1865 caused water to rise six metres in Lake Saint-Pierre and severely damaged the port facilities.

View of Port Saint-François from the St. Lawrence

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Port Saint-François then became a holiday destination, attracting visitors with its beaches and charming cabins. The lighthouse, located on the western side of the wharf, has an octagonal white lantern with a red roof, atop a wide concrete pillar. It was built in 1907 and is 14.6 metres high.

Lighthouse on the western side of Port Saint-François

The "M.S. Jacques-Cartier" offers cruises on the St. Lawrence and Lake Saint-Pierre, starting from the Port of Trois-Rivières.

Cruise ship on the St. Lawrence

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In the summer months, boats of all sizes crowd the river, sometimes coming so close they seem about to collide.

Large white ship, personal watercraft and sailboat on Lake Saint-Pierre

Until 2000, the Department of National Defence used Lake Saint-Pierre as a firing range. Numerous shells still lie in the sediments south of the St. Lawrence Seaway, making this section of the lake unsafe for navigation. Specialists are working to remove the shells in order to prevent serious accidents that could result from an explosion.

Notice indicating a risk of explosions near Chenal Landroche.

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Between Pierreville and Nicolet, the lake is only accessible via Chenal Landroche. This channel has been dredged several times to remove sediments deposited during the spring floods.

Cabin near Chenal Landroche

The average depth of Lake Saint-Pierre is just three metres. To permit heavy commercial vessels to pass safely, a channel has been dredged in the centre of the lake. This channel, known as the St. Lawrence Seaway, is 11.3 metres deep and 245 metres wide.

Commercial vessel on Lake Saint-Pierre

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