Roberval, Quebec Canada

Discover Roberval, Quebec: A Blend of History and Modernity

Roberval, Quebec, a city nestled on the south-western shore of Lac Saint-Jean, is a gem in the Le Domaine-du-Roy Regional County Municipality of Quebec, Canada. With a population of 9,840 according to the Canada 2021 Census, Roberval is the fourth largest city on this lake, following Alma, Dolbeau-Mistassini, and Saint-Félicien.

Roberval, Quebec: A Hub of Services and Activities

Roberval serves as the seat of the Domaine-du-Roy RCM and is the main service centre for the region, boasting a hospital and various government services. It is also the seat of the judicial district of Roberval. Unique among Lac Saint-Jean towns, Roberval's core is directly on the lakeshore.

The city has been represented in the federal parliament by notable figures such as Benoît Bouchard, former cabinet Minister and Canadian Ambassador in France, and Michel Gauthier, former federal Leader of the Opposition. Bernard Lord, the former Premier of New Brunswick, was born here.

Roberval was the proud winner of Kraft Hockeyville in 2008. Following renovations to their arena, the city hosted an NHL preseason game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres on September 23, 2008.

Roberval is also home to the Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean, an annual swimming competition held since 1955. The major competition features the crossing of Lake St-Jean over a distance of 32 km (20 mi). The 2010 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships were also hosted in Roberval.

The Rich History of Roberval, Quebec

The first settlers began to colonize the area around 1850, followed by families especially from the Charlevoix area. The settlement, the oldest village on the shores of Lake Saint-Jean, was first known as Notre-Dame-du-Lac-Saint-Jean, named after the parish founded in 1854. A few years later in 1857, the Municipality of Lac-Saint-Jean was formed but in 1859 was split into several municipalities including the Municipality of Roberval.

The city was named after the geographic township of Roberval, which in turn was named by surveyor Joseph Bouchette in honour of the first Lieutenant General of New France Jean-François de la Roque de Roberval (1496–1560). In 1862, the Roberval post office opened.

In 1884, the settlement separated from the municipality to form the Village Municipality of Roberval. It experienced rapid growth in the 1880s when Horace Jansen Beemer, an American entrepreneur from Philadelphia, came to Roberval. He established logging and sawmill businesses and led the construction of the railroad to Quebec City in 1888.

Beemer personally took care of logging, land speculation, and construction of railway bridges. He also built a tourist complex in Roberval in 1898, centred on fishing for landlocked salmon and organized excursions to the Grande Décharge (outlet of Lake Saint-Jean). A fire destroyed the Grand Hotel Roberval in 1908, putting an abrupt end to luxury tourism in the Lake Saint-Jean area.

In 1903, the village of Roberval gained town (ville) status, and in 1956, city (cité) status. In 1976, it merged with the Municipality of Roberval to form the current city.

Demographics of Roberval, Quebec

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Roberval had a population of 9,840 living in 4,520 of its 4,838 total private dwellings, a change of -2.1% from its 2016 population of 10,046. With a land area of 151.36 km2 (58.44 sq mi), it had a population density of 65.0/km2 (168.4/sq mi) in 2021.

In 2021, the median age was 52.4, as opposed to 41.6 for all of Canada. French was the mother tongue of 98.0% of residents in 2021. The next most common mother tongues were Atikamekw at 0.8%, followed by Arabic, English, and Spanish at 0.3%. 0.2% reported both English and French as their first language. Additionally there were 0.5% who reported both French and a non-official language as their mother tongue.

As of 2021, Indigenous peoples comprised 11.0% of the population, most of whom were First Nations, and visible minorities contributed 0.8%. The largest visible minority groups in Dolbeau-Mistassini are Latin American (0.3%) and Black (0.2%).

In 2021, 79.8% of the population identified as Catholic, a 14.6% decrease from 2011, while 13.6% said they had no religious affiliation. Baptists were the largest religious minority, making up 0.3% of the population.

Climate of Roberval, Quebec

Roberval has a cold and highly seasonal humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with mild summers, cold winters and high annual snowfall. Due to seasonal lag and influence from the nearby lake, September is well above the subarctic threshold as the fourth warmest month.