, inc 1975, is located at the confluence of Rivière SAGUENAY
and Rivière aux Sables, west of CHICOUTIMI
and 221 km north of Québec City. As regional metropolis of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, the present city includes the amalgamated municipalities of Jonquière, Arvida, Kénogami and the parish of Jonquière. It was named after Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel, marquis de LA JONQUIÈRE
, governor of New France (1749-52).
As the industrial axis of the region, its history is closely tied to the history of major corporations, specifically to that of the Price Company Ltd (now ABITIBI-PRICE INC
) and ALCAN
. An agricultural parish founded in 1847, Jonquière began developing after 1893 when the railway arrived. In 1900 a group of citizens built a pulp mill on the Rivière aux Sables.
The mill was soon bought by William PRICE
, who turned it into a paper mill. In 1911 the company built a larger paper mill near the town, which, like the town built to house its employees, was called Kénogami. By 1912 Jonquière was the major producer of newsprint in Canada.
In 1925 the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa, later Alcan) built the aluminum smelter that gave rise to Arvida on the plain between Jonquière and Chicoutimi. Arvida (from the name of Arthur Vining Davis, then president of Alcoa) was a fine example of a legally incorporated company town. Its 1926 charter deviated in many ways from Québec law regulating cities and towns. The company managed all aspects of daily life, from town planning to education (the school board), sports and health.
Besides factories, Alcan built a hydroelectric power station for its smelter on the Saguenay near Jonquière, which was finished in 1931. During World War II Alcan boosted its production capacity at Arvida and built a second hydroelectric power station (Shipshaw). At the time, the Arvida complex was the largest aluminum production centre in the Western world.
Primarily an industrial centre, Jonquière began to change in the 1960s as services began to develop. Along with its commerce and professional services the city has since 1975 become home to the regional offices of several provincial government ministries.
Collège de Jonquière, established in 1967, is part of the CEGEP
network and specializes in media communications and technology and French as a second language.
The major cultural facility is the Centre culturel du Mont-Jacob, which, in addition to providing various cultural events, houses the Centre national d'expositions. Musée Sir-William-Price is located in an Anglican church (1912). The city has 2 major festivals, La semaine mondiale de la marionnette - an international puppet and marionette festival - and a winter carnival.
Jonquière received heavy flooding in July 1996, although it was not as severe as at other communities in the region such as Chicoutimi, La Baie and the hamlet of Boilleau.
Saguenay River near Jonquière
The legendary Saguenay near Jonquière, Québec (photo by J.A. Kraulis).
The world's first aluminium bridge near Jonquière, Québec (photo by J.A. Kraulis).