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Mauricie is a favourite destination for those who love the outdoors. There are some 17,500 lakes here, and nature takes up 85% of the area of this region! Good reasons to return whenever you feel the need to spend some time communing with nature!
Biking, hiking, canoeing, fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, dog-sledding: lots of energy all year round! Lovers of water sports will also be in for a treat: the Saint-Maurice wildlife reserve alone has 150 crystal-clear lakes, all connected to one another, and tucked away amidst the forest.
Nature in Mauricie may be rich, but its history is even more so. Pioneers, coureurs des bois (literally, “runners in the woods”, men who went into the woods and traded for furs with the Amerindians) and lumberjacks all knew how to profit from the beautiful forests and the Mauricie River, which served as the means of transportation for the logs (drive). Forestry and its by-products still play an important role.
Located halfway between Montreal and Quebec City, Mauricie connects these large cities via the Chemin du Roy (King’s Road) (Route 138). Dotted with the vestiges of its history, it will take you back to the era of carriages and stagecoaches. On one side, all along its route, is the edge of the river and on the other, charming rural villages to stop and admire: Louiseville, Yamachiche, Champlain, Bastican, Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, etc.
The outdoors and nature as far as the eye can see…
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Flavours of the region
With agricultural soils among the richest and most fertile in all of Quebec, Mauricie tastes wonderful wherever you go:
Market gardens, where you can pick berries, offer products that are famous for their flavours.
Excellent cheese makers, maple sugar producers and stock farms for bison, deer and chickens are all well established here.
Try these: artisan beers from Gambrinus (Trois-Rivières) and from the well-known microbrewery Les bières de la Nouvelle-France (Saint-Paulin). And to add more fizz, there’s the refreshing mineral water from Saint-Justin, the only naturally carbonated spring water in Quebec.
The Quebecois people love crepes, but they rarely make them with buckwheat. In Mauricie, however, that’s the tradition! The growing of buckwheat in Louiseville even gave rise to its Festival de la Galette de Sarrasin.
In winter, fishing for tomcod (petit poisson des chenaux) is popular. These tiny fish are excellent when floured and sautéed in butter, with no further preparation. Fishing for tomcod began in 1938, when Eugène Mailhot, busy cutting blocks of ice from the river, saw all the tomcod swimming below the frozen surface and could not stop himself from casting his fishing line.
The transportation of lumber on the Saint-Maurice River continued until 1994, when pressure from ecological and boating groups brought it to a halt. The drive, as spectacular as it was for moving the logs to the nearby processing plants, left tons and tons of debris on the riverbed. The drive damaged the channel and released harmful substances, so a huge operation to clean the riverbanks was undertaken. Not surprising, because an estimated billion and a half cubic metres of lumber travelled down this river between 1909 and 1983. A chain of logs with a length equivalent to 19 times the distance between the Earth and the moon!
A little history
The Chemin du Roy, the first road suitable for vehicles, was built at the beginning of the 18th century by all the inhabitants of the seigneuries it passed through. Even the seigneur was expected to help with the work, but as we well know, he could pay someone else to replace him. This obligatory community work was the “duty chore” of that era. In winter, the road had to be kept open and its track marked. Spruce trees placed upright in the snow served as landmarks during storms, when fields and road merged under a white blanket.
Did you know?
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