Le parc des Papetiers, more than just an urban park

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By Anaïs Laurent

Walk, terrace, tanning, yoga, picnic, marina (and more) along the river.

Inaugurated in 2021 and nestled on the west bank of the Saint-Maurice River (and yes! The river is everywhere in the city), the Parc des Papetiers in the Grand-Mère sector, has sense of greatness, like its precursors.

This huge site, which for more than 125 years housed the Laurentide paper mill built by the Laurentide Pulp Company between 1887 and 1889, gave birth to the heart of what would become the city of Grand-Mère. Then followed the hydroelectric power station, the Assembly Hall, the time office, the development of the golf course and Forman Park, the construction of the bridge as well as well as most of the houses located in the now famous “Quartier des Anglais(‘English Quarter’).

Far from this industrial panorama today, and in the vein of our builders, we continue to think beautiful and big _in Shawi! The Parc des Papetiers offers something for everyone with a view of the Saint-Maurice River! So how to take advantage of it?

In relaxation mode: take full advantage of the great street furniture by using the many deck chairs and benches arranged here and there, sometimes embellished with great permanent beach umbrellas which give the place a holiday look. Book in your hand, or not… and don’t forget the sunscreen! You can also opt for a yoga session on the riverside terrace. Or some daydreaming in the green spaces, gazing at this surprising panorama: river, Grand-Mère bridge (the oldest suspension bridge in Canada), marina, captaincy, promenade terrace and hydro-electric power station.

In outdoor mode: you can walk or run on the specially designed ring or breathe in a breath of fresh air during your bike ride. The more active can take up the challenge of the concrete tower by climbing the 149 steps that lead to its top. Parents can also let the kids stretch their legs in the playground.

In curious mode: we stroll across the park observing the vestiges that still remain of the old factory, put into perspective by the dozen panels on the site’s rich history and we take the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the builders of Shawinigan’s era. We observe the sculpture integrated into the architecture “Figure de prouesse” which finds its place on a former pillar of the factory. We understand here the process of creation and installation explained by the regional artist Annie Pelletier.

In nautical mode: paving the way for a 120 km navigable section between Grand-Mère and La Tuque (navigability guaranteed until the rapid Manigance in 2022), the marina of Grand-Mère, one of the newest in Quebec offers 99 docks including 10 for visitors, a harbor master’s office and numerous services.

In creative mode: bring your notebook and your watercolor box, or a simple pencil, to sketch the spirit of the place. Or, using your phone, try your hand at art photography by subjecting the strangely harmonious cohabitation of built and natural heritage.

To enhance your experience:

  • We integrate the Parc des Papetiers into a discovery getaway in Shawinigan, with the “Bulle urbaine” de Grand-Mère, a 4 km heritage trail crossing the commercial artery not far from there, on foot or by bike, your choice! Route available here.

  • Bring your picnic, eat at the Marina restaurant/bistro, or in one of the local restaurants

Treat yourself to a show package at the former Assembly Hall, now transformed into a Maison de la culture Francis Brisson (performance hall), with an overnight stay at Le Manoir du Rocher located alongside the famous Grand-Mère rock.

We take the Bateau-Passeur to get to the other side of the shore by bike.

Learn more about the industrial history of Shawinigan at the Cité de l’énergie

As you’ll have understood, whether you’re alone, with the family, between mothers, with a girlfriend or a few friends, the Parc des Papetiers offers a whole new perspective on our beautiful river, and promises, a few years from now, to become a essential gathering place in Shawinigan.

@ Shawinigan Tourism  2024 - All rights reserved   //  Website development: Turbulences // Photo credit