Rivière-à-Pierre is an atypical locality of Middle Batiscania located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, in the regional county municipality of Portneuf, in the administrative region of Capitale-Nationale, in Quebec. This municipality of the Canadian shield in the heart of the Laurentians turns out to be split in two by the course of the Pierre river which flows in its last part towards the west to flow into the Batiscan river.
Rivière-à-Pierre is the second largest municipality in terms of surface area in the MRC de Portneuf. This municipal territory covers a vast mountainous and forested territory, with more than 200 lakes. This locality has a territory of 537.95 kilometres (334.27 mi) of which 514.01 kilometres (319.39 mi) terrestrial, where reside 584 inhabitants and around ? seasonal residents.
The economy of this municipality is characterized by its industry centered on the exploitation of granite banks. Stonemasons specialize in cutting granite on the mountainside. The other economic activities are forestry, agriculture and recreational tourism (vacationing, hunting and fishing, mountain biking or snowmobile excursions, observation of flora and fauna, swimming, cycling).
Rivière-à-Pierre is the access route to public lands (north side) which are exploited by the Government of Quebec. Considering its vast forest cover, this municipality is a paradise for recreational tourism activities related to forestry: camping, hunting and fishing, observation of flora and fauna, boating, vacationing… In addition, the territories administered by the Batiscan-Neilson Controlled Zone and the Portneuf Wildlife Reserve overlap the territory of the Municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre.
In this municipality several chalets are available for rent. Route 367, which links Saint-Raymond and Notre-Dame-de-Montauban, passes through the southern part of the village of Rivière-à-Pierre.
The territory of the municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre is part of the Batiscanie (hydrographic basin), because its western part is crossed by the Batiscan river. The village of Rivière-à-Pierre is enclosed between the mountains of Precambrian origin.
The Batiscan River flows north to south over 196 km (122 mi) starting from lac Édouard in Mauricie. It drains into the St. Lawrence at Batiscan. The village is located northwest of a segment of this river.
Rivière à Pierre is a tributary of the east bank of the Batiscan River. It flows in the unorganized territories of Lac-Blanc (township of Neilson) and Linton (township of Tonty), as well as in the municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre in its lower part. It collects the discharge of the Blanche river in the village of Rivière-à-Pierre, then continues west, winding widely to its mouth.
Taking its source in Lac Blanc, the Batiscan River flows in the unorganized territory of Lac-Blanc and in the municipality of Rivière-à-Pierre, in the MRC of Portneuf. Its watershed covers 203 kilometres (126.14 mi). Its mouth is located near the church, in the village of Rivière-à-Pierre.
At the end of XIXth Century, the main driver of economic development was logging; the course of the Batiscan river then made it possible to transport logs by flotation to the mills downstream. In addition, the railway made it possible to transport workers, supplies, tools and to transport wood there. The extraction of granite from the mountains around the village set in motion a significant development at the end of the XIXth Century. In XXIth Century, the main economic vocations of the Rivière-à-Pierre territory are recreational and tourism activities (vacationing, camping, hunting and fishing, mountain biking, snowmobiles), forestry, agriculture and a few local businesses.
The colonization of the “Canon Bois mission” began in 1880 where agriculture and forestry were practiced there. The railway section arrived in the village of Rivière-à-Pierre in 1885. Several railway workers settled in Rivière-à-Pierre. The lots of land are then allocated to new settlers. In 1885, the road was built between Notre-Dame-des-Anges and Rivière-à-Pierre.
The civil status registers of the presbytery of the parish of St-Bernardin-de-Sienne began in 1890. The Canton Bois mission was henceforth designated as the municipality of Canton Bois. In 1898, the Martineau bridge was erected, at 200 m. south of the current Voyer Bridge. In 1907, a covered bridge was built opposite the church. The mission was transformed into a parish in 1908; the church was built in 1909 and the presbytery in 1910.
In 1928, the electricity company was formed to operate the hydroelectric dam at Marmite Falls. In 1934, following a federal government order, a monolithic granite cross was shaped by stonemasons. It is transported to Quebec by train; then on a barge to Gaspé where it was planted to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Jacques-Cartier in New France.
St-Georges College was built in 1938. In 1942, the International Paper Company launched its operations in Rivière-à-Pierre. The Victory Bridge was built in 1945. In 1947, Shawinigan Water and Power purchased the electricity company. That same year, the fire tower was built and the municipality bought the first fire pump. The Rivière-à-Pierre boarding school ceased to operate in 1970.
In 1998, the multi-purpose S.P.J.C./summer cycle path was built on the right-of-way of the railway line. In winter, this path is used as a trail for snowmobilers.