Grandes-Piles, Quebec

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For homonymy, see Pile.
Village municipality
Location within Mékinac RCM.
Location within Mékinac RCM.
Grandes-Piles is located in Central Quebec
Location in central Quebec.
Coordinates: 46°41′N 72°44′W / 46.683°N 72.733°W / 46.683; -72.733Coordinates: 46°41′N 72°44′W / 46.683°N 72.733°W / 46.683; -72.733[1]
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Mauricie
RCM Mékinac
Settled c. 1850
Constituted August 10, 1885
 • Mayor Jean-Pierre Ratelle
 • Federal riding Saint-Maurice—Champlain
 • Prov. riding Laviolette
 • Total 124.80 km2 (48.19 sq mi)
 • Land 120.66 km2 (46.59 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 361
 • Density 3.0/km2 (8/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011 Increase 3.1%
 • Dwellings 234
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code(s) G0X 1H0
Area code(s) 819
Highways Route 155
Route 159
Census profile 2435040[3]
MAMROT info 35040[2]
Toponymie info 228457[1]

Grandes-Piles is a village municipality in the Mauricie region of the province of Quebec in Canada.

This small village is located on a cliff of the Saint-Maurice River north of Grand-Mère. As the birthplace of the log drives in the Mauricie, it has an interpretive centre of the forest industry. The reopening of the river for recreational boating made it a favorite spot for water sports and sailing. In winter, the frozen river and snowy cliffs become a vast area for winter sports.

The name of Grandes-Piles (literally "large piles") has uncertain origin. One of the best-known but false explanations is that it referred to a stack of logs entanglement on the rocks of the Saint-Maurice that inspired the early settlers. Another explanation claims that it referred to the large rocks used by the indigenous Americans to grind grain. It may also refer to the stack of stratums, horizontal sedimentary layers that are exposed in this part of the Mauricie.[1]

It is twinned with the city of Clamecy, Nièvre in France since 1996.


The first settlers of Grandes-Piles arrived circa 1850 and were drawn to the area because of the large stands of white and red pine. In 1852, the Norcross & Philips Company obtained the logging rights there. From 1852 to 1855, the Saint-Maurice River from La Tuque to Trois-Rivières was dredged and prepared for log driving, and Grandes-Piles became the gateway to lumberjacks and log drivers. In 1878, the village's first sawmill was built, followed by an industrial boom which led to the construction of a railway between Trois-Rivières and Grandes-Piles.[4]

In 1882, the post office opened. In 1885, the village was incorporated as the Parish Municipality of Saint-Jacques-des-Piles, named in honour of Jacques Buteux. At that time, it was the main transportation hub for the interior areas of the Mauricie since it was located at the head of navigation on the Saint-Maurice, and had warehouses and rail access. In 1890, 14 coal furnaces were installed and iron was produced in the town until 1920. In 1925, the road to Saint-Jacques-des-Piles was built.[1][4]

In 1966, Saint-Jacques-des-Piles was renamed to Grandes-Piles, and in 1988, it changed its status to Village Municipality. In 1997, the Compagnie de flottage du St-Maurice, the company responsible for log driving on the Saint-Maurice, ceased operations and the industrial waterfront of Grandes-Piles was reclaimed for tourism.[1][4]


Archange Lake is on the border of Grandes-Piles and Sainte-Thècle.


Population trend:[5][6]
Year Population Variation (%) Median age
2011 361 Increase3,1 % 52,2 ans
2006 350 Decrease 6,4 %
2001 374 Decrease 0,0 %
1996 371 Increase 2,2 %
1991 363

Private dwellings occupied by usual residents: 186 (total dwellings: 234)

Mother tongue:[7]

  • English as first language: 1,4 %
  • French as first language: 97,2%
  • English and French as first language: 0%
  • Other as first language: 1,4 %

Pictures of Grandes-Piles[edit]