Sailing in Shawinigan
Shawinigan on the water… Another way to appreciate Shawi
By France St-Amant
Navigating on the Saint-Maurice River is definitely a downtime, a time of zenitude. You’ll lose track of time. Don’t be surprised if you get on the boat at 9 a.m., if at 1:30 p.m. you haven’t even felt hungry yet. The soothing sound of the wind will reconnect you with your inner self. That’s for sure.
In Shawinigan, navigation is generally practiced from mid-May to mid-October and the season can sometimes stretch until the end of October.
The majestic Saint-Maurice River crosses Shawinigan to the heart of its downtown area and is made up of several navigable basins. A key figure in the town’s history, this waterway offers amazing views to boating and sailing enthusiasts.
The navigable basins of the Saint-Maurice River in Shawinigan
– Its main basin offers 70 km round trip, from the Grand-Mère bridge to the Rapides Manigance located between Saint-Roch-de-Mékinac and the mouth of the Mattawin River. All types of boats can circulate with the guarantee of always having enough water in this sector. Before reaching the Rapides Manigances, a sign clearly indicates that it’s dangerous to venture further since there are several shoals.
– In the downtown sector, you’ll find a smaller basin between the Shawinigan dams and the Rapides des Hêtres, representing a 12 km round-trip.
– From the launching ramp on Avenue du Beau-Rivage, you’ll still have the possibility of navigating 12 km round-trip between the Rapides des Hêtres and the Grand-Mère dam.
The main marinas on the Saint-Maurice River
- Marina de Grand-Mère, inaugurated in 2019, offers quality infrastructures and services that make it one of the most beautiful and comfortable marinas in Quebec with its 99 docks, including 10 docks for passing visitors. The recreational tourism complex, adjacent to the marina, includes an exceptional waterfront park, the Parc des Papetiers, a public chalet, parking and paved walkways. It’s possible to enjoy a superb view from the top of the tower located in the park (149 steps). The marina offers breathtaking views of two heritage sites: the suspension bridge (1928) and the Grand-Mère hydroelectric power station (1916). The site and its architecture, rich in their industrial heritage linked to the paper industry, include large green spaces. This multifunctional park is an invitation to boaters and other users.
- In the Saint-Jean-des-Piles sector, you’ll find several marinas and boat ramps.
- The Parc nautique Saint-Jean-des-Piles (rue Morin) offers several services on site with its 70 docks, including 10 for visitors. Perfect for refueling or stopping at the nautical convenience store located close by. You can simply launch for the day from this marina (charged);
- Marina Gélinas, rue du Quai (charged);
- Boat launch at the Quai municipal Michel-Lépine, rue du Quai (free).
- In downtown Shawinigan, there is a marina at Parc de l’Île-Melville with about 60 places for medium-sized boats. There are also a few docks available for visitors and a boat launch.
- Rapides-des-Hêtres road launching ramp (free);
- Pssst! In the Shawinigan-Sud sector, on Chemin de la Berge, there’s a boat launch adapted for people with reduced mobility (free).
If you navigate around La Mauricie National Park, you’ll be rapt by the great outdoors. You might even come across a bear or a moose on the shore.
To drop anchor, if the wind allows you to take shelter:
– La Pointe-à-Madeleine, west side, near the St-Jean-des-Piles sector;
– La Baie du Soleil, east side, south of the Marina of Grandes-Piles;
– The fishing river bay, west side, diagonally at the St-Roch-de-Mékinac campground.
Would you still like to enjoy the river after your day of navigation? Try a restaurant with a terrace and a view of the Saint-Maurice River: the Saint-Mo Bistro Gourmand, Le Broue-Pub and restaurant Le Trou du diable, the Sushi taxi, the Taj Mahal, the Cité D’Angkor, the Pacini or the Café-Bistro 2800.
At the 2800, you can even berth directly at their private dock, climb the stairs and enjoy a good meal on the terrace.
You don’t have a boat but you’d still like to go for a ride on the river, contact Maximum Aventure for the rental of motor boats, pontoons and jet ski.
For an experience that combines pleasure and safety, take the time to consult the boater’s guide before embarking on your adventure!
To find all water access points in Shawinigan, click here.
Psst ! Here are three friendly tips for a superb sailboat trip:
1. Be well prepared, dress according to the temperature;
2. Provide healthy and comforting food, in addition to thirst-quenching beverages;
3. Take the time to enjoy nature, without noise, without pollution, be ZEN.