We all would like to stay young. So would our city. Yet with age come treasures to be shared. With its carefully preserved century-old buildings and historic neighbourhoods, Rivière-du-Loup has a ton of stories to tell. Are you ready to listen?
Museums and historic sites
Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent
Opened in 1975, the Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent has a mission of conservation, research, dissemination and education. Its areas of special interest are Québec modern art (including contemporary art), ethnological photography of eastern Québec and the work of Bas-Saint-Laurent artists.
The museum’s two permanent exhibitions document segments of Rivière-du-Loup’s history.
Intersections, the first, mixes old photographs with new technology to present a historical portrait of the region, located at the meeting point of river, road and rail.
The second, Le rêve d’Ulric Lavoie, photographe… aveugle!, presented in a room that resembles a photography studio of days gone by, consists of a multimedia projection based on old snapshots. In this brief dreamlike fiction, we meet two photographers who took many portraits in the region.
The museum’s website posts and documents more than 125,000 antique photographs.
300 Saint-Pierre Street
Tel: 418 862-7547
Fraser Seigniorial Manor
Intimately linked with the genealogy of the Fraser family, which contributed to the city’s development in the early 1800s, this elegant manor house was classified an historic site in 1991. After undergoing a complete restoration that recovered its splendour of days gone by, the mansion now reveals the secrets of this dynasty through its interpretation centre.
A tour of the home’s many rooms familiarizes visitors with the seigniorial system and the influence of the last seigniors on the city’s growth. The architecture, furniture and various objects that belonged to the Fraser lineage immerse visitors in the domestic life of 19th century bourgeois families.
32 Fraser Street
Started in 1916, construction of Rivière-du-Loup’s city hall was completed the following year. The heritage building therefore is celebrating its centennial in 2017.
This emblematic landmark was the work of influential engineer Georges Ouimet, to whom city residents feel a deep attachment. As a symbol of pride and ambition, the building, recognized as a national historic site by Canadian Heritage, follows in the European tradition that raises city halls to the status of prestigious monuments and grants them pride of place in their environment.
After suffering major water damage in 2015, the interior of the municipal building had to be completely renovated. Some elements, such as its impressive tower and the spring-driven clock, have weathered the decades without skipping a minute.
65 Hôtel-de-Ville Street
Tel: 418 867-6700
Presented in three paintings representative of three main eras, the exhibition Our Mayors Through the Years pays tribute to the dozens of elected mayors who have led the city since 1850. Climb the stairs inside the building to view the exhibition.
Encompassing the western portion of Fraser Street, the Old Saint-Patrice neighbourhood is a prestigious historical site that includes some fifty summer homes built in the grand era of 19th century Anglophone summer resorts. Many political personalities of the time, including Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, summered here.
Princesse Movie Theatre
The Princesse movie theatre claims no relationship to the flashy megaplexes that have sprung up in major cities in recent decades. Celebrating a hundred years in 2017, this intimate temple presents a unique architectural character in Québec’s film circuit.
After opening with a Charlie Chaplin film, over the years, the dark hall hosted dramatic plays, musical comedies, strongman competitions and yé-yé shows, to mention just a few, before focusing on its cinematography role.
Classified an historical building, the complex, which now has four theatres, has more to offer than just Hollywood blockbusters. Step under its marquee and journey back to the golden age of silent films in the blink of an eye!
345 Lafontaine Street
Tel: 418 862-3291
Historic railway caboose
Near the Campus-et-de-la-Cité park and the tourist information office, a tour of this old railway caboose immerses you in the lives of the hundreds of railway workers who blackened their hands in the heydays of the Grand Trunk Railway. The last representative of its generation, this caboose represents the models used in the late 1940s.
Through photographs and objects, the exhibition Oil in their veins revives the daily routine of railway workers and the crucial role trains played in the city’s development.
189 Hôtel-de-Ville Boulevard
Tel: 418 862-1981
Heritage parks and gardens
Seigniorial Manor Historic Gardens
The gardens surrounding the Fraser Seigniorial Manor offer a relaxing escape just steps from downtown. As they view the pastoral beauty from the broad verandah, visitors can imagine themselves sipping tea as the seigniors did in their glory years.
Explanatory panels throughout the garden explain the changes made over the years by the manor house’s occupants. They also identify the varieties of fruit trees planted and the heritage vegetables that still grow in the kitchen garden.
32 Fraser Street
Des Chutes Park
An orchard was planted on this site for the first time in 1930 by forestry engineer Lauréat Lavoie, with a view to commercial production. Ownership later passed to the family of Louis Pelletier, apple grower and graduate of the Institut agricole d’Oka. In 1984, the arboretum was bequeathed to the City of Rivière-du-Loup, which has maintained the old apple trees and planted new fruit trees from heritage varieties with the cooperation of Ruralys.
This is a popular picnic area that provides a unique experience for the whole family, in the middle of the majestic Des Chutes Park.
Du Campus-et-de-la-Cité Park
In this sprawling urban park, 10 interpretation panels tell the history of the Du Loup River and the major role it has played over time.
Rivière-du-Loup and its waterfalls – A history of water has been produced by the Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent from its photography collection.
St. Bartholomew’s Chapel
Built in 1841, St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church is one of the city’s oldest buildings and one of the region’s oldest Anglican churches. Constructed by Malcolm Fraser, the church is located on grounds near the Fraser Seigniorial Manor.
This small wooden chapel features the neo-gothic forms in style in Anglican communities of the day. The church is covered in clapboard and the bell tower is capped with elegant crenellations. It was used by immigrants who came to work in the Intercolonial Railway shops and by Anglican summer residents. Former Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald attended church services many times.
As a special witness of days past, its cemetery in the shade of sprawling trees still contains the tombstones of founding families. (Text from www.patrimoine.bassaintlaurent.ca)
15 du Domaine Street
Typical of its era, Sainte-Anne-des-Ondes Chapel in La Pointe de Rivière-du-Loup is reminiscent of the golden age of summer resorts in the late 19th century. Used since 1855 for its quay, La Pointe became a popular vacation destination and attracted summer residents arriving by steamship and later by train. The wooden chapel, built in 1895, is small and simple. A central bell tower and pointed arch openings create a distinctive look evocative of the neo-gothic style. The views over the river from the chapel still explain the strong interest in this site among Québec’s religious heritage. (Text from du www.patrimoine.bassaintlaurent.ca)
116 Hayward Street
First erected on this site in 1855, it replaced the former parish church built further west. Built on land donated by the Fraser Seigniors, the church established the importance of the village that had grown up on the seigniorial land over some twenty years.
Originally designed by Charles Baillargé, the church was rebuilt after the 1883 fire. From the ruins of the walls, architect David Ouellet altered the planes of the façade but retained the building’s neo-gothic inspiration with large pointed arch windows, buttresses for the nave and pinnacles on the spire. The 12 wooden statues, masterworks by sculptor Louis Jobin, and the paintings by Charles Huot are highlights of the interior decor. (Text from www.patrimoine.bassaintlaurent.ca)
121 Lafontaine Street
Perched atop a rocky outcrop, Saint-François-Xavier Parish Church has dominated Rivière-du-Loup’s landscape since 1905, when the city was undergoing unprecedented growth following construction of the various railways and opening of the railway shops. Architects David Ouellet and Pierre Lévesque signed the plans for this majestic church in the eclectic style.
Typical of its period, the decor draws from various architectural sources. The transept and turrets are capped with slim bell towers and thin spires that lend the monumental ashlar construction an impression of lightness. Guido Nincheri, an Italian immigrant who settled in Montréal, produced the outstanding stained-glass windows. (Text from www.patrimoine.bassaintlaurent.ca)
31 Delage Street
Classified a heritage site, Saint-Ludger Church was built in 1905 at one of the city’s historic intersections. It reflects a period of industrial and demographic growth linked to development of the railway system. The church sits on land donated by Seignior William Fraser and a new house was converted into a manse. Commercial activity grew quickly nearby and a genuine hub of settlement emerged around the parish buildings. Schools were quickly opened to serve the children of the area. The site therefore is a reminder of the birth and rapid growth of Saint-Ludger in the early 20th century.
The church is also of interest for its architectural value. The constituent buildings reflect various styles used in institutional and residential architecture over the first two decades of the 20th century. Built to the plans drawn up by David Ouellet and Pierre Lévesque, the church reflects the influence of eclecticism on Catholic religious architecture of the time. (Text inspired by the Répertoire du patrimoine culturel au Québec)
43 Alexandre Street
The Du Platin trails
A genuine nature interpretation centre in an urban setting, Des Chutes Park not only provides outdoor relaxation but also improves visitors’ knowledge of history, geology and botany.
With a tourism and arts pass, you can enjoy an educational stroll that appeals to all the senses. Along eight trails winding through the park, you can discover its various ecosystems with a fresh eye: the heritage orchard, river, forest, streams, pond and cliffs.
The Du Platin Trails guide [in French only] sells for $5 at the Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent, in local bookstores, at the tourist information office, and city hall.
A digital version for tablets is available on the Tourism Rivière-du-Loup website.
La Tête d’Indien
An iconic character has haunted the La Pointe Park for more than 50 years. Painted on a rock wall, an Indian with piercing eyes has gazed over the river since he was created in 1963, never missing a single sunset.
Dominating the landscape, this Indian head is directly linked to the First Nations presence in La Pointe’s history and many legends surround the Rocher Malin, the “evil” rocky crest that lends its angular shape to the mysterious face.
Go visit him and discover his stony countenance through the interpretive panel.
Take advantage of your stroll along the river to check out the beautiful homes overlooking the tidewater.
Old Rivière-du-Loup is one of the most extensive historic districts in eastern Québec. The Fraser Seigniors planned its development starting in 1825. You can learn more about this ambitious urban project through two walking tours.
The picturesque promenade that starts at city hall reveals the secrets of 19th century bourgeois life, through impressive public buildings and elegant villas.
Starting from the Fraser Seigniorial Manor, Le parcours citadin brings the earliest days of the village of Fraserville and development of the downtown area back to life. The many styles of architecture, which testify to the city’s prosperity at various times, have been beautifully showcased.
The pamphlet [in French only] is available at Tourism Rivière-du-Loup’s office and at city hall.
Encompassing the western end of Fraser Street, Old Saint-Patrice is a prestigious historic district that includes some fifty summer homes built in the heyday of 19th century Anglophone summer resorts. Many famous politicians of the era, including Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, summered here.
Two interpretive panels provide a privileged glimpse into these magnificent old summer homes.
Print out the information sheets or go to the two entrances to the neighbourhood, where you will find interpretive panels, and get a close look at these grand homes that have lost none of their charm!
Map of Old Saint-Patrice
Old Rivière-du-Loup geo-rally
This treasure hunt, version 2.0, leads you on a fun escapade through the hidden side of Old Rivière-du-Loup. With a GPS, as a family or on your own, you must test your powers of observation as you discover the city’s earliest neighbourhoods through new eyes.
You can borrow a GPS free of charge from Tourism Rivière-du-Loup. The game form is available on paper or in digital format, in French or English.
Archives and history
The history of Rivière-du-Loup has had its share of ups and downs, recorded in detail by organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting the past.
Rivière-du-Loup regional archives
As custodian of the memory of our collective past, this centre oversees the preservation, protection and development of our archival heritage for individuals, organizations and companies primarily from the area of Rivière-du-Loup MRC.
The archival collection can be viewed on site or through the electronic database.
75, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville
Société d’histoire et de généalogie de Rivière-du-Loup
Formed 30 years ago in response to city residents’ need to remember, discover and showcase local history, this non-profit society organizes, promotes and oversees historical, genealogical and cultural activities and events. It also inventories and protects heritage through various actions and initiatives.
75, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville
Tel: 418 867-6604
Many municipal sites now bear the name of their builders indelibly etched into the city’s history.
Salle Magloire-Deschênes (city hall)
The boardroom upstairs in city hall is named in honour of Mr. Magloire Deschênes, secretary-treasurer of the municipality for more than 35 years, from 1876 to 1911, and deputy clerk of the Recorder’s Court from March 1911 to the end of 1912.
Salle Évariste-Talbot (city hall)
The boardroom in the basement of city hall is named in honour of Mr. Évariste Talbot, municipal clerk and treasurer starting in 1912 and clerk of the Recorder’s Court from 1919 until his death in 1921.
Salle Jean-Baptiste-Arthur-Chamberland (city hall)
The boardroom on the ground floor of city hall is named in memory of Mr. Jean-Baptiste-Arthur-Chamberland (1817-1895), notary and first secretary-treasurer of the village of Fraserville, which later became the city of Rivière-du-Loup, from September 9, 1850 to May 4, 1857.
The municipal building at the corner of Saint-Elzéar and Lafontaine Street is named in memory of Rosaire Gendron (1920-1986), Mayor of Rivière-du-Loup from 1956 to 1968 and Member of Parliament for Rivière-du-Loup–Témiscouata from 1963 to 1984, for his contribution to municipal development and establishment of the Foyer-Patro, which became the Cité des jeunes.
The municipal building at the corner of Fraser and Joly streets is named in memory of Jean-Léon Marquis (1925-2007), Mayor of Rivière-du-Loup from 1983 to 1991, for his contribution to municipal development and his visionary role in restoring and repurposing the old Sœurs du Bon-Pasteur convent as a cultural centre in 1983.
The Françoise-Bédard library on Rocher Street was named in 1990 in memory of Françoise L’Écuyer-Bédard (1904-1988), founder of the first public library affiliated with the Union des alliances françaises du Québec, in 1954, transferred to the city in 1980 and moved in 1983 to the former Sœurs du Bon-Pasteur convent, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the cultural development of Rivière-du-Loup.
Georgianna-Juneau Room (Maison de la culture)
The exhibition room on the second floor of the Maison de la culture is named in memory of Sister Saint-Paul-de-la-Croix (1873-1940), a devoted teacher of literature at the Bon-Pasteur convent from 1895 to 1901, who shared her passion with her students and members of Rivière-du-Loup’s literary circle, in part by starting a small newspaper, L’Alouette, which quickly gained a large following.
Corinne-Cartier Room (Maison de la culture)
The small room number 1 on the second floor of the Maison de la culture is named in memory of Sister Marie-Joseph (1883-1963), notable for her enthusiasm for teaching, culture and musical composition, as a teacher at the Bon-Pasteur convent in Rivière-du-Loup, in the years 1920-1927 and 1930.
Marie-Ange-Jolicœur Room (Maison de la culture)
The small room number 2 on the second floor of the Maison de la culture is named in memory of Sister Saint-Jean-Sauveur (1903-1973), notable for her great enthusiasm for vocal and instrumental music as well as the musical teaching she provided at the Bon-Pasteur convent from 1933 to 1935, 1940 to 1944 and 1950 to 1954.
Bon-Pasteur Room (Maison de la culture)
The performance hall on the third floor of the Maison de la culture is named in memory of the Sisters of Bon-Pasteur, who arrived in Fraserville in 1860 to teach, first in a small village school and later in the current structure built in 1886.
Application for commemoration or designation
To suggest a name to the toponymics committee, please fill out the form below and send it to the address indicated. In addition to honouring a person, event, group, organization or important achievement in the city’s history, your proposal must be consistent with the spirit of the place indicated and the existing themes in various neighbourhoods.
The city encourages restoration of historic residential and commercial buildings by supporting citizens’ efforts to maintain and rehabilitate their four-walled treasures.
A special bylaw governs conservation of traditional architecture in five sectors.
- Lafontaine Street
- Old Rivière-du-Loup
- Religious heritage sites
- Old Saint-Patrice heritage district
- La Pointe
To learn all about the most common architectural styles in Rivière-du-Loup, visit the site