The Trois-Rivières Port Authority (TRPA) is celebrating the port’s 130th anniversary throughout 2012. The Act creating the Corporation of the Harbour Commissioners of Trois-Rivières, referred to as the Harbour Commission, was passed on May 17, 1882. Over the course of its history, the Port of Trois-Rivières was overseen successively by the Harbour Commission, the National Harbours Board beginning in 1936, the Canada Ports Corporation beginning in 1983 and, since 1999, the Trois-Rivières Port Authority (TRPA).
The initial project was presented by Hector-Louis Langevin, MP for Trois-Rivières and Minister of Public Works for Sir John Alexander McDonald’s Conservative government. The mayor and the president of the Chamber of Commerce were appointed to the new organization and the government named three other commissioners. The Commission’s primary task was to set up proper port facilities in order to benefit the regional economy.
Before the Commission was created, the port facilities were built by private companies, mainly large businesses that wanted to move their products. Matthew Bell, the owner of the Forges du Saint-Maurice, built a dock and a warehouse in 1824. Montreal ship owner John Molson built three docks in 1825 and acquired others in 1840 to allow the Montréal-Québec steamship connection to make a stop. The first public dock was built in 1858 by the municipal administration for the ferries that had been in service since 1845. However, in time it became increasingly difficult to meet the needs of the marine industry with a group of small, disconnected docks. Moreover, because of increasing competition from the railway, the business community asked Ottawa to create a public organization.
Upon its creation, the Harbour Commission acquired the docks and warehouses and began modernizing the port facilities. The Port of Trois-Rivières became public and was managed by local people. The Commission was dissolved in 1936 and the management and the assets of the Port of Trois-Rivières were transferred to the National Harbour Board. In 1983, the Government of Canada set up the Canada Ports Corporation, or Ports Canada, which took over the mandate of the National Harbour Board and created two categories of ports, local port corporations and divisional ports. Trois-Rivières was a divisional port, under the administration of an Executive Director, but having to report to a national office for decisions regarding strategic and long-term development. In 1999, however, the Government of Canada reformed its port system and added Trois-Rivières to the list of national ports in the same capacity as Vancouver, Montréal, Halifax and 13 other ports in the country. The Canada Marine Act created the Trois-Rivières Port Authority (TRPA).