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View from Etienne-Bellemare park in Saint-Jean-des-Piles

Grandes-Piles is a recreational tourism and picturesque locality of the Moyen-Mauricie in the Laurentian Shield, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, in the regional county municipality of Mékinac, in Mauricie, in Quebec. This municipality has a territory of 124.8 km2 (48.2 sq mi) where 415 inhabitants reside.

This municipality has a large industry derived from the forestry industry and recreational tourism activities.



In the past, the forestry industry was the dominant economic activity in Grandes-Piles, and agriculture second. In the 20th century, recreational tourism activities (vacationing, boating, nautical activities) gained momentum because of the capacity for tourist accommodation and the various attractions offered by this body of water on the Saint-Maurice River. . The latter can be sailed to La Tuque if the water conditions allow it.

Route 155 linking Grand-Mère to La Tuque generates significant traffic, especially in summer.


As early as 1850, the forestry industry became the vector of economic development in the Mauricie valley. From then on, ships powered by steam engines and paddlewheels crisscrossed the river to supply shipyards in the Moyen and Haute-Mauricie. Relays were established along the banks. In early winter, the hordes of workers and horses (sometimes up to two hundred horses) traveled on the ice roads laid out on the river to go to the logging sites. The workers came back down in the spring or were assigned as loggers to direct the floating logs into the current.

The section of the "Chemin de fer du Nord" was built in 1877-78 to link Montreal to Quebec on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. This railway project included the construction of the Piles branch which was built in 1879-80. The train arrived at Les Piles in the fall of 1980, serving in particular the parishes of Saint-Narcisse and Saint-Maurice. This branch contributed to the economic development of the Piles and to navigation on the Saint-Maurice River, upstream of the Grand-Mère dam. This branch opened up the hinterland to colonization, to the industrial exploitation of the forests of the Middle and Upper Mauricie, as well as to the creation of parishes. However, this spectacular economic boom lasted until the construction of the railway connecting La Tuque.


Residents of this municipality have the advantage of being located near Shawinigan to receive services and the Saint-Maurice River which was a vector of economic development at the end of the 19th century.

The Saint-Maurice River has its source at Gouin Reservoir, in Haute-Mauricie. It flows on 560 km (350 mi) in a north-south direction and displays a drop of 405 m (1,329 ft). The segment of its east shore of Saint-Maurice River in the territory of Grandes-Piles is 7.3 km (4.5 mi).

Get in[edit]

The village of Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac is accessible by road, snowmobile, all terrain vehicles or by river.

By car[edit]

  • From Montreal (184 km (114 mi). Time: 1 hr 55 min. Take highway 40 (north shore) eastbound, to Trois-Rivières; take highway 55 (northbound) to Grand-Mère, which becomes route 155 and then cross the Saint-Maurice river bridge; take road 155, to the village of Grandes-Piles.
  • From Quebec City (145 km (90 mi). Time: 1 hr 36 min. Take highway 40 west ; take road 359 (northbound) passing through the village of Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes, then Lac-à-la-Tortue; then take route 153 (eastbound); take road 155 (northbound), up to the village of Grandes-Piles.

Get around[edit]

Map of Grandes-Piles

Charging station for electric vehicle[edit]


  • 1 Église de Grandes-Piles (Church of Grandes-Piles), 630, 4e avenue. Stone Catholic church in Grandes-Piles.
  • 2 Cimetière de Grandes-Piles (Cemetery of Grandes-Piles), 630, 4e avenue.
  • 3 Halte routière (Rest area), route 155. Rest area on the edge of the Saint-Maurice river. Panoramic view.


  • 1 Bibliothèque municipale de Grandes-Piles (Grandes-Piles municipal library), 650, 4e avenue, +1 819-533-3697, . Library volunteers organized a concept of a Croque-Livres type book lending box located in the municipal park. Loans of books, audio books, magazines etc. The library accepts special requests through access to the Regional Centre for Public Library Services. free.
  • 2 Scène extérieure au parc municipal (Outdoor scene at municipal park), 775, 1e avenue, +1 819-538-9708. The site is equipped with WIFI, sanitary block and a canteen area. free.
  • 3 4-seadon outdoor skating rink, 650, 4e avenue, +1 819-538-9708. The site is equipped with WIFI, sanitary block and a canteen area. free.
  • 4 Parc et quai municipal, Corner of 1e avenue and 2e rue. The site offers a breathtaking panorama over the valley of the Saint-Maurice river and the Pointe à la Mine. Picnic table area available. Annually, several activities take place there including the national holiday, outdoor concerts, the Festi-Volant, etc. free.
  • 5 Parc riverain, Corner of 1e avenue et 2e rue (Adjacent to the municipal office). Developed by the municipality, the Yvon-Fournier trail runs along the shore of the Saint-Maurice River and 1st Avenue, between the municipal park and the Grandes-Piles marina. The trail has historical information panels with photos. Formerly, the buildings of the company J.R. Boisvert, manufacturer of tool handles, were erected here; this company has been a vector of the forestry economy and of the village of Grandes-Piles. free.
  • 6 Parc des loisirs (Adjacent to the municipal office). Main activities: hockey (ice rink in winter), shuffleboard or pétanque. free.
  • Terrain de jeux (In front of the municipal office). Main equipment: games, swings, water games, picnic tables, sanitary block, picnic tables. free.


  • 7 Aventure Vent et Rivière (Mattawin Adventure Center), 60, 2e rue, +1 819-538-3333. Rental service for water sports equipment. free.
  • 8 Club de voile St-Maurice, 599, 1e avenue, +1 819-383-8319, . Sailing club. Sailboat rental and several sailing activities in Grandes-Piles. free.
  • 9 Croisières Centre-Mauricie, Quai municipal de 1H0, +1 819-690-2144. Cruise service on the Saint-Maurice river on board the Windigo. Family activities and entertainment. Culture, history and guided tours. free.
  • 10 Marina Grandes-Piles, 599, 1e avenue, +1 819-531-7522. Marina for pleasure craft generally open from mid-May to mid-October. The Grandes-Piles nautical centre has 100 seasonal berths, 12 visitor docks, a gas station, a sailing school, a rental center for sailboats, catamarans, dinghies and paddleboards. There is also the wakesurf school, in collaboration with Hi5 Wakesurf & SUP! free.
  • 11 Hi5 Wakesurf & SUP, 597, 1e avenue, +1 819-383-8319. Water sports equipment rental service in Grandes-Piles. Introduction to paddle board. free.
  • 12 Sentier National - Tronçon Père Jacques-Buteux, Route 155. Signposted hiking trail starting near the roadside rest area on Route 155. This trail crosses the boreal forest, which is mainly composed in this area of cedars, maples and pines. In the first kilometer of the walk, hikers take a loop along the cliffs; at the top, they can contemplate the panorama of the Saint-Maurice valley. The trail continues winding between lakes, streams, waterfalls and mountains. This trail passes through the Grandes-Piles Nature Area and the Lac Clair campsite; this trail goes to route 159 connecting Saint-Tite and Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac. free.
  • 13 Village du Bucheron, 840, 5e avenue, +1 819-538-5885. History museum on the forestry industry of the Saint-Maurice valley over a century of history since 1850. The 25 buildings and outbuildings on the site pay tribute to the pioneers. This museum, established in 1982, pays tribute in particular to the businessman Jean J. Crête who settled in Grandes-Piles in 1892; having controlled for fifty years logging in Mauricie, he is designated by some historians "King of Mauricie". The history of the village of the Bûcheron begins in 1978 during a permanent exhibition on the third floor of a barn of Mr. Crête; this barn had previously been acquired by two teachers: Viateur Perreault and Hughette Frigon. Over the years, this barn was transformed into a museum, first in 1979 by adding a photo library. In 1979, the Festival des Draveurs de Grandes-Piles was launched. Guided tour in tales and songs. All guides are musicians and storytellers. free.


  • Classique Internationale de canots de la Mauricie (Mauricie International Canoe Classic), 253, 3e rue de la Pointe, C.P. 1, suite 207, Shawinigan, +1 819-537-9221. Early September. Since 1934, this canoe classic has gained international fame. This classic includes a series of sporting (over 200 km, in three stages between La Tuque and Trois-Rivières) and cultural events. About 70,000 visitors attend all stages of the canoe race and events. free.


  • 1 Marché Grandes-Piles inc., 560, 5e avenue, +1 819-538-1210. General grocery store.


  • 1 Pruneau Patates inc, 521, 5e avenue, +1 819-533-0167. Hamburger-style restaurant.
  • 2 Restaurant Ma-Mi, 595, 5e avenue, +1 819-538-6662. Meals on site. Orders to bring.
  • 3 Auberge Le Bome, 720, 2e avenue, +1 819-538-2805. 19th-century house with period rooms, free breakfast, hot tub, restaurant and lounge.




  • 1 Aire Nature Grandes-Piles-Camping Lac Clair, chemin du Lac des Ïles, +1 819-809-2535. The rustic eco-camping site is located on the natural territory of the Projected Biodiversity Zone of Grandes-Piles. This site gives access to 30 km of hiking trails, including the Jacques Buteux section of the National Trail. Kayaking and canoeing is popular on Lac Clair and Lac des Iles. Canoe-kayak-rowboat rental service. This park offers eco-camping sites (21 rustic sites), 11 camping sites for tents, two sites suitable for small RVs such as Wesfalia and five ready-to-camp accommodations (cabins and chalet).

Chalet, gîte, inn[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • 1 La Mauricie National Park Parc national de la Mauricie is a national park of Canada in Moyen-Mauricie, on the west shore of the Saint-Maurice River and in the northern part of the city of Shawinigan. Its mission to protect a representative sample of the Laurentians.
  • 2 Festival Western de Saint-Tite Festival Western de Saint-Tite on Wikipedia Western-style festival that takes place annually over ten days, from the second weekend to the third weekend in September. He has international fame.
  • 3 Saint-Tite The city of Saint-Tite is the capital of the MRC de Mékinac. Its economic vocation is focused on public services, on the leather industry, agriculture, forestry. and recreational tourism activities (vacation, Western festival, hunting & fishing, swimming, etc.)
  • 4 Sainte-Thècle Sainte-Thècle is a picturesque village established at the end of the 19th century. Saint-Jean Park on the shore of Lac Croche in the heart of the village of Sainte-Thècle is a centre of recreational and tourist activities for vacationers, residents and vacationers. It has a beach, a playground and a kiosk on the peninsula. The Laurent Naud promenade on the shores of Lac Croche, along rue Lacordaire, presents an enchanting setting with magnificent floral arrangements and trees. The cemetery above with a magnificent Calvary and a Stations of the Cross carved in stone are worth a visit.
  • 5 Hérouxville Hérouxville is the gateway to the MRC de Mékinac. Thanks to route 153, Hérouxville is located on the road leading to the Festival Western de Saint-Tite. Hérouxville stands out particularly thanks to the Tavibois domain (belonging to the Filles de Jésus community - Daughters of Jesus community) and the Val Notre-Dame summer camp. The main economic vocation of Hérouxville is agriculture; forestry (especially in the northwest of the territory) and recreational tourism activities constitute a part of the local economy.
  • 6 Lac-à-la-Tortue Lac-à-la-Tortue, Quebec on Wikipedia Recreational tourism activities (vacationing, boating, nautical activities, seaplanes) are the main economic activity in the sector. This lake is the oldest civilian seaplane base in Canada; the licensed airmen having arrived there in 1919, immediately after the First World War. A mine was in operation there from 1879; mining deposits are now exhausted.
  • 7 Saint-Jean-des-Piles Saint-Jean-des-Piles is located on the west bank of the Saint-Maurice river. It is an essential stopover for boaters who enjoy the magnificent body of water formed by the hydro-electric dam at Grand-Mère. Nowadays, recreational tourism activities (vacationing, boating, hunting & fishing, nautical activities) are popular in the summer season, particularly because of the proximity of the Mauricie National Park, the marina on the Saint-Maurice and its wild nature, but close to the services of the big city. In 1996, the cessation of the transport of wood by flotation on the Saint-Maurice generated an upsurge in recreotourism activities.
  • 8 Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac alt= Municipality split in two by the Saint-Maurice river. Since the middle of the 19th century, its history has been dependent on logging in Moyen and Haute-Mauricie. Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac then served as a relay station for workers, particularly log drivers and derived industries. Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac is the soul of navigation on the Saint-Maurice. Perched on a promontory, the village offers a panoramic view of the Saint-Maurice valley. Along the east bank of the Saint-Maurice River, the breathtaking cliffs are admired by tourists, boaters and motorists. When the forests are adorned with leaves of leaves in warm colours in autumn, the valley offers a natural and magical spectacle.
This rural area travel guide to Grandes-Piles is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.