Trois-Rivières is a city in the Mauricie administrative region of Quebec, Canada, located at the confluence of the Saint-Maurice and Saint Lawrence Rivers, on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River across from the city of Bécancour. It is part of the densely populated Quebec City–Windsor Corridor and is approximately halfway between Montreal and Quebec City. Trois-Rivières is the economic and cultural hub of the Mauricie region. It was founded on July 4th, 1634, the second permanent settlement in New France, after Quebec City in 1608.
The city's name, which is French for three rivers, is named for the fact that the Saint-Maurice River, which is divided by two small islands at the river's opening, has three mouths at the Saint Lawrence River. Traditionally, Trois-Rivières was referred to in English as Three Rivers, although in more recent decades it has been referred to as Trois-Rivières in both English and French. The anglicized name still appears in many areas of the town (e.g., the city's Three Rivers Academy), bearing witness to the influence of English settlers in the town. The city's inhabitants are known as "Trifluviens" (Trifluvians).
Trois-Rivières is also the name of a territory equivalent to a regional county municipality (TE) of Quebec, coextensive with the city of Trois-Rivières. Its geographical code is 371. Together with the regional county municipality of Les Chenaux, it forms the census division (CD) of Francheville (37). The municipalities within Les Chenaux and the former municipalities that were amalgamated into Trois-Rivières formerly constituted the regional county municipality of Francheville. Trois-Rivières is the seat of the judicial district of the same name. The Trois-Rivières metropolitan area also includes the city of Bécancour which is situated on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across the Laviolette Bridge.
The area has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb). Winters are long, cold, and snowy: the January high is −7.1 °C (19.2 °F), with lows dropping to −20 °C (−4 °F) on 27 nights per year and to −30 °C (−22 °F) on 2.9 nights. Snowfall averages 259 centimeters (102 in), with reliable snow cover from December to March. Summers are warm, with a July high of 25.5 °C (77.9 °F), though highs reach 30 °C (86 °F) on 5.5 days per summer. Spring and autumn are short and crisp. Precipitation averages 1,123 millimeters (44.2 in), and is the greatest during summer.
Trois-Rivières is Canada's oldest industrial city, with its first foundry established in 1738. The forge produced iron and cast for 150 years, much of it being shipped to France to be used in French navy ships. The first port facility was built in 1818 near rue Saint-Antoine, and today handles 2.5 million tonnes of cargo annually. The first railway was built in 1879 to support the growing lumber industry.
The city was known as the pulp and paper industry capital of the world from the late 1920s until the early 1960s. The city once had five mills in operation (Trois-Rivières Ouest, Wayagamack, C.I.P. and St-Maurice Paper). Today, there are three mills left operating (Kruger Trois-Rivières Ouest, Kruger Wayagamack and Cascades Lupel ex-St-Maurice Paper), the closures due largely to a decline in newsprint demand and globalization. The closures were not limited to just the pulp and paper industry; Trois-Rivières experienced an industrial decline in the 1980s and 1990s, with the closure of several textile mills, with unemployment rising to 14 percent in the 1990s.
Trois-Rivières is attempting an industrial revitalization by establishing technology parks and taking advantage of its central location to both Montreal and Quebec City, its university and port. An example of the new economy is Marmen Incorporated, which manufactures wind turbine towers and employs 1,000 people between its operations in Trois-Rivières and Matane.
The city's other prominent industries include metal transformation, electronics, thermoplastics, as well as cabinet making and the production of food crops. An industrial park adjoining Trois-Rivières Airport serves also as a major center for the aeronautical industry.