In April 1865, an immense ice jam between Trois-Rivières and Québec raised water levels by more than five metres. The archipelago was almost completely submerged; nothing but water could be seen. This disastrous flood resulted in about 30 deaths, including 19 on Île de Grâce. Fifteen of the eighteen homes on the island were destroyed. A few years later, almost all of the homes on this island had been rebuilt.
In April 1865, an immense ice jam between Trois-Rivières and Québec raised water levels by more than five metres. The archipelago was almost completely submerged; nothing but water could be seen. This disastrous flood resulted in about 30 deaths, including 19 on Île de Grâce. Fifteen of the eighteen homes on the island were destroyed. A few years later, almost all of the homes on this island had been rebuilt.

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White and grey cabin on stilts during a spring flood

To avoid damage from spring floods, cabins built near the channels are raised on stilts.

Philippe Manning
2008-05-02
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Cabin on stilts on Île Plate

The cabins on Île Plate are perched atop very high stilts to avoid damage during the spring floods, since this island is very flat.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Old two-story building on Île d'Embarras

Animals were kept in this building. During spring floods, they would be brought up onto the second floor.

Philippe Manning

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


On the western end of Île de Grâce stand a farmhouse and its outbuildings, which were once home to Henri Letendre. Considered the last of the islanders, he spent most of his life in the home where he grew up. Many people once lived year-round on this island, and there was even a little school where Henri’s mother and aunts taught the local children. In 1947, some 50 families called the island home. The islanders would beat paths across the thick ice to access the mainland during the winter. In 1953, icebreakers began to clear the passage for ships throughout the winter and the ice bridges could no longer be built. Feeling isolated, most of the islanders left Île de Grâce. Today, the island is only accessible by boat and is mainly used by cottagers.
On the western end of Île de Grâce stand a farmhouse and its outbuildings, which were once home to Henri Letendre. Considered the last of the islanders, he spent most of his life in the home where he grew up. Many people once lived year-round on this island, and there was even a little school where Henri’s mother and aunts taught the local children. In 1947, some 50 families called the island home. The islanders would beat paths across the thick ice to access the mainland during the winter. In 1953, icebreakers began to clear the passage for ships throughout the winter and the ice bridges could no longer be built. Feeling isolated, most of the islanders left Île de Grâce. Today, the island is only accessible by boat and is mainly used by cottagers.

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Aerial colour photograph of the house and farm buildings on Île de Grâce owned by Henri Letendre (1921-2003)

We see here the house and the farm buildings owned by Henri Letendre at Île de Grâce.

Philippe Manning
2005-10-22
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Grey wooden cabin on stilts

Many cabins are heated by a wood oven, which is also used to cook food.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Cabin with three chimneys and various water reservoirs

Some people come up with inventive ways to improve the comfort of their cabins. The owner of this cabin has placed containers full of water on the roof to obtain a reserve of warm water.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Cabin equipped with a wind turbine

Cabins may even be equipped with a wind turbine to generate electricity.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Cabin on stilts on Île Plate

This cabin produces its own electricity by means of a wind turbine and solar panels.

Mario Cloutier
2012-08-04
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


The hay harvested on the islands of the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago is very rich, thanks to the nutrients brought in by the spring floods. In the early 20th century, many of the islands would flood at least once every two years, naturally fertilizing the soil. All the locals has to do was harvest the hay. The fields would only need to be renovated every 15-20 years.

The rich soil of the islands is also used to grow pasture for animals and to cultivate cereals.
The hay harvested on the islands of the Lake Saint-Pierre archipelago is very rich, thanks to the nutrients brought in by the spring floods. In the early 20th century, many of the islands would flood at least once every two years, naturally fertilizing the soil. All the locals has to do was harvest the hay. The fields would only need to be renovated every 15-20 years.

The rich soil of the islands is also used to grow pasture for animals and to cultivate cereals.

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

The numerous marshes in the archipelago and around Lake Saint-Pierre are home to large numbers of ducks. Hunting is therefore a very popular activity in the region. In the fall, many blinds can be seen, carefully camouflaged among the wetland vegetation. Some hunters use their boat as a blind, covering it with wetland plants to pass unobserved. This type of boat blind is known locally as a "caboche."
The numerous marshes in the archipelago and around Lake Saint-Pierre are home to large numbers of ducks. Hunting is therefore a very popular activity in the region. In the fall, many blinds can be seen, carefully camouflaged among the wetland vegetation. Some hunters use their boat as a blind, covering it with wetland plants to pass unobserved. This type of boat blind is known locally as a "caboche."

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

The channels of the archipelago teem with fish, making the region a great fishing destination.

Nearly 80 species of fish inhabit the waters of the Lake Saint-Pierre biosphere reserve.

The Société d’aménagement de la baie Lavallière (SABL) monitors fish populations in the bay. A total of 27 species have been observed, including Bullhead, Yellow Perch, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Black Crappie, White Sucker, Central Mudminnow, German Carp, Golden Shiner and Bridle Shiner. The bay is an important breeding ground for early-spawning fish such as the Northern Pike and Yellow Perch.

Once abundant in the Lake Saint-Pierre region, Yellow Perch stocks have declined dramatically due to a variety of factors, from habitat degradation to the introduction of the Round Goby, an invasive exotic species that competes with juvenile Yellow Perch for food. The Round Goby, which is native to the Black Sea, was transported to Lake Saint-Pierre in ocean vessel ballast water. In 2012, a five-year moratorium was placed on Yellow Perch fishing in the archipelago, the lake and its main tributaries to protect the remaining stocks. Read More
The channels of the archipelago teem with fish, making the region a great fishing destination.

Nearly 80 species of fish inhabit the waters of the Lake Saint-Pierre biosphere reserve.

The Société d’aménagement de la baie Lavallière (SABL) monitors fish populations in the bay. A total of 27 species have been observed, including Bullhead, Yellow Perch, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Black Crappie, White Sucker, Central Mudminnow, German Carp, Golden Shiner and Bridle Shiner. The bay is an important breeding ground for early-spawning fish such as the Northern Pike and Yellow Perch.

Once abundant in the Lake Saint-Pierre region, Yellow Perch stocks have declined dramatically due to a variety of factors, from habitat degradation to the introduction of the Round Goby, an invasive exotic species that competes with juvenile Yellow Perch for food. The Round Goby, which is native to the Black Sea, was transported to Lake Saint-Pierre in ocean vessel ballast water. In 2012, a five-year moratorium was placed on Yellow Perch fishing in the archipelago, the lake and its main tributaries to protect the remaining stocks. Major changes will need to be implemented in various agricultural and industrial activities to improve water quality and restore Yellow Perch stocks to their former abundance in Lake Saint-Pierre.

© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.

Young girl ice fishing with her father.

Fishing is practised in all seasons. Winter is the season for ice fishing. The fisherman bores a hole in the ice and lowers a baited hook through it. The line is held in place by a tip-up, which moves when a fish bites the hook. The main species targeted are Northern Pike and Walleye.

Philippe Manning
2013-02-23
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Fishing cabins on the ice of Chenal du Moine

On the frozen channel, you can see many people busying themselves around their colourful cabins and trailers. While the adults set up their ice fishing rigs, the children sled down the banks of Île du Moine. The festive ambiance seems to warm the chill winter air.

Philippe Manning
2013-02-23
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Net used by commercial fishermen.

Commercial fishermen use a hoop net, known locally as a "varveau."

Philippe Manning
2005-08-26
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Commercial fisherman in front of his smoker

Mr. Desmarais, a commercial fisherman, prepares sturgeon fillets in his smoker at Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville.

Philippe Manning
2008-09-10
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Red and blue wooden cabin decorated with colourful fish silhouettes

In Notre-Dame-de-Pierreville, visitors can buy various kinds of fish from Lake Saint-Pierre, which are smoked on site.

Philippe Manning
2008-09-10
© 2013, Biophare. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Educational objectives

  1. Become familiar with the region and its features.
  2. Better understand the various ways humans have adapted to the special features of the Lake Saint-Pierre region.

Curricular connections

Connections will be established between the virtual exhibit The Human Side of Lake Saint-Pierre and the contents of educational programs: rational resource use for an equitable distribution of wealth; awareness of interdependence between the environment and the organization of a society in its territory.

Learning outcomes

Draw up an overview of the region: physical features and human activities.

Measures taken to create a lesson plan based on the collection of learning objects

A student notebook, provided in the virtual exhibition, allows teams of students to note information on the physical features of Lake Saint-Pierre and its archipelago and the human activities that are practised there.

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