L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet, Quebec

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Ile-du-Grand-Calumet QC.JPG
L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet is located in Western Quebec
Location in western Quebec.
Coordinates: 45°43′N 76°37′W / 45.717°N 76.617°W / 45.717; -76.617Coordinates: 45°43′N 76°37′W / 45.717°N 76.617°W / 45.717; -76.617[1]
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Outaouais
RCM Pontiac
Settled 1840s
Constituted July 1, 1855
 • Mayor Paul-Émile Maleau
 • Federal riding Pontiac
 • Prov. riding Pontiac
 • Total 147.40 km2 (56.91 sq mi)
 • Land 132.14 km2 (51.02 sq mi)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 731
 • Density 5.5/km2 (14/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011 Decrease 6.9%
 • Dwellings 428
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code(s) J0X 1J0
Area code(s) 819
Highways No major routes
Memorial to Jean Cadieux

L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet is a municipality in the Outaouais region, part of the Pontiac Regional County Municipality, Quebec, Canada. The municipality consists primarily of Calumet Island (in French Île du Grand Calumet), but also includes Lafontaine Island, French Island, Green Island, and numerous minor islets, all in the Ottawa River, some 20 kilometers (12 mi) north of Renfrew, Ontario.

Before December 22, 2007, it was called simply Grand-Calumet. The official name was changed to L'Île-de-Grand-Calumet, however, on July 5, 2008, it was changed again to use -du- rather than -de-. This last modification was considered a correction rather than a name change.[4][5]

Its name is a reference to the large peace pipes which were smoked by the Algonquin who used to gather here in large numbers.[6]

Bordering on Whitewater Region, Ontario, the municipality is the co-location of some of the roughest sections on the Ottawa River, popular with kayakers and rafters. Three whitewater rafting companies based in L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet take adventurers down the Rocher Fendu Rapids, known as the best whitewater rapids in Eastern North America.[7]


About 20 kilometers (12 mi) long by 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) wide, Calumet Island has an elevation of no more than 200 meters (660 ft) above sea level. Agricultural land use is mostly concentrated in the centre of the island.[8]

Population centres are Rivière-Barry, Freshwater, Dunraven, Duffyville, Le Faubourg, Île-du-Grand-Calumet, and Tancredia.[9]


Like Allumette Island upstream, Calumet Island was for many years a meeting place of the Algonquin people.[7] During the French Period, the region along the Ottawa River was not colonized in order to maintain the fur trade with the indigenous peoples who lived there. The French maintained military garrisons in several forts along the Ottawa River, including Fort-Coulonge.[10] Furs would be delivered there and then brought under escort to the larger towns of the colony. After 1763, the English had the same motive to discourage the colonization of the region.

But because the Ottawa River was the main canoe route to the west, Calumet Island was the site of a portage trail to bypass the strong and turbulent rapids in the river at this point. Here the events of the Cadieux Legend took place.[7]

Jean Cadieux, born at Boucherville on March 12, 1671, youngest son of Jean Cadieux and Marie Valade, was a coureur des bois from 1695 on. In May 1709, when attacked by the Iroquois on Calumet Island, he sacrificed himself in order to let his travelling companions escape by running the Seven Chutes Rapids. Remaining alone on Calumet Island, he died of his injuries and exhaustion. When found, he held in his hand a sheet of bark on which he had transcribed a death chant, known as La Complainte Cadieux.[6] Its opening stanza is as follows:[11]

Petit rocher de la haute montagne, (Little stone of the high mountain,)
Je viens ici finir cette campagne! (I come here to finish this campaign!)
Ah! doux échos, entendez mes soupirs (Ah! sweet echoes, hear my sighs)
En languissant, je vais bientôt mourir! (Languishing, soon will I die!)

This legend is still kept alive and commemorated by the island's inhabitants.[6]

French-Canadian from the province of Québec started to settle there as early as 1820. The first settler was Louis-Marie Brizard. There is a street there named Brizard in his honour.

The first settler was Louis-Marie Brizard (1798-1868) from Maskinongé Qc.. There, he had as a girlfriend Marie Lavigne (1798-1868). Apparently, she was a grand daughter of the local Indian chief. She converted to Catholicism. On October 4, 1836, they got married at Fort-Coulonge, Qc. It was the closest place to meet a priest. Louis-Marie and Marie had many children who married new settlers. Many people now living there have Louis-Marie and Marie Lavigne as for away ancestors. In the past, Brizard was sometimes written Brisard, Brissard and Brizzard; indicating the same person.

Circa 1836, former employees of the Hudson's Bay Company started to settle on the island, followed by three waves of Irish immigration between 1840 and 1850. In 1840 the Parish of Sainte-Anne-du-Grand-Calumet was formed.[6] In 1846 the Grand-Calumet Township was established, with F.X. Bastien as first mayor.[7] On May 14, 1847, the Township Municipality of Calumet was created, but abolished on the next September 1 and reestablished in 1855.[6]

Lead-zinc was discovered on Calumet Island in 1893. New Calumet Mines began production in 1943, with a peak output of 840 tons per day in 1953 and employing 435 people. In 1968 the mine was shut down.[7]

In 2003, the Township Municipality of Grand-Calumet became the Municipality of Grand-Calumet, and on December 22, 2007 changed its name to the Municipality of L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet.[6]


Historical Census Data - L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet, Quebec[14]
Year Pop. ±%
1991 787 —    
1996 774 −1.7%
Year Pop. ±%
2001 732 −5.4%
2006 785 +7.2%
Year Pop. ±%
2011 731 −6.9%



  • English as first language: 21%
  • French as first language: 78%
  • Other as first language: 1%

List of mayors[edit]

Over its 158-years, the Municipality of L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet has had 21 mayors. They are as follows, including the years in which they served:[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reference number 400324 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (French)
  2. ^ a b "L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet". Répertoire des municipalités (in French). Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  3. ^ a b c "L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet census profile". 2011 Census of Population. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  4. ^ http://www.stat.gouv.qc.ca/publications/referenc/pdf2008/Modif_dec07.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.stat.gouv.qc.ca/publications/referenc/pdf2008/modif_juil08.pdf
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Municipalité de L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Pontiac MRC Gateway: Calumet Island". Pontiac MRC Gateway. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  8. ^ "Canton de Grand-Calumet" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  9. ^ Atlas of Canada
  10. ^ Dunn, Guillaume, Les forts de l'Outaouais, Éditions du jour, Montreal, 1975
  11. ^ Taché, Jean-Charles, Forestiers et Voyageurs (chapter 15), 1884, Online version at Bibliothèque nationale du Québec
  12. ^ a b "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  13. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  14. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  15. ^ L'Île-du-Grand-Calumet 150th Anniversary mayor list