Background and mission


BORÉALIS is a place of history and memory that explores the social, economic and environmental aspects of Quebec’s paper industry from the perspective of Trois-Rivières. The museum’s exhibits, collection and programming are designed to raise visitor awareness of our material and intangible heritage, and to provoke thought and discussion about the challenges of tomorrow.



Story of a major industry

The geographic location of Trois-Rivières, at the confluence of two major rivers, made it an important trading post and ideal place for exchanges between Europeans and First Nations. By the mid-19th century, Trois-Rivières boasted several sawmills, a new symbol of economic prosperity in the Mauricie region. The 20th century saw the arrival of the pulp and paper industry, driven by a growing demand for newsprint. These are the pages of our history that BORÉALIS has put on display. Visitors are invited to step back in time and discover the story of pulp and paper, tracing the elements that have shaped our regional identity: the Saint-Maurice River, the forest and the paper industry.

Designation by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

On August 3, 2006, the Government of Canada designated Quebec’s pulp and paper industry a National Historic Event. The plaque commemorating this event was unveiled at the harbour park in Trois-Rivières in May 2008. Quebec’s pulp and paper industry joined the ranks of other national historic events such as the Arrival of Jacques Cartier at Gaspé, Shipbuilding at Quebec, the Fur Trade, the Treaty of Montréal in 1701, and the Ursulines of Trois-Rivières. The history of pulp and paper can now be interpreted in a setting worthy of its importance: BORÉALIS.

A building filled with history

The filtration plant of the Canadian International Paper Company (CIP) was built in the early 1920s. At the time, it was used to pump, filter and store water for the paper mill. By the mid-fifties, the plant could filter more than 20 million gallons of water a day, used to produce 1,000 tons of newsprint.

The plant has retained its authenticity, since the original architecture and machinery have been largely preserved. In fact, it is one of the few remaining buildings that witnessed the birth of pulp and paper in Trois-Rivières. In 2006, it was designated a heritage site by the City of Trois-Rivières.