La Prairie, Quebec

La Prairie

Old La Prairie

Coat of arms
Motto: Victor Hostium et Sui
(Latin for "Master of our Enemies and Oneself")

Location within Roussillon RCM
La Prairie

Location in southern Quebec

Coordinates: 45°25′N 73°30′W / 45.42°N 73.5°W / 45.42; -73.5Coordinates: 45°25′N 73°30′W / 45.42°N 73.5°W / 45.42; -73.5[1]
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Montérégie
RCM Roussillon
Constituted March 30, 1846
  Mayor Donat Serres[4]
  Federal riding La Prairie
  Prov. riding La Prairie
  Total 54.80 km2 (21.16 sq mi)
  Land 43.28 km2 (16.71 sq mi)
Population (2011)[5]
  Total 23,357
  Density 539.7/km2 (1,398/sq mi)
  Pop 2006-2011 Increase 7.3%
  Dwellings 9,346
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Postal code(s) J5R
Area code(s) 450 and 579

Route 104
Route 132
Route 134
Route 217

La Prairie is an off-island suburb (south shore) of Montreal, in southwestern Quebec, Canada, at the confluence of the Saint-Jacques River and the Saint Lawrence River in the Regional County Municipality of Roussillon. The population as of the Canada 2011 Census was 23,357.


The old post office of La Prairie.
A monument in La Prairie marking the location of the first railway in Canada.

French Jesuits were the first Europeans to occupy the area, which was named La Prairie de la Magdelaine but was also called François-Xavier-des-Prés. The land was given to the Jesuits by Jacques de La Ferté and the Company of One Hundred Associates in 1647. It is in La Prairie that the story Kateri Tekakwitha took place.

In 1668, the site was named Kentaké, the Iroquois name for "at the prairie". In the beginning of modern Quebec history, the territory of La Prairie would be visited on numerous occasions by Iroquois and English settlers from New York, among others at the time of the Anglo-Iroquois expedition of Pieter Schuyler in 1691, who commanded two battles on August 11, 1691.

In 1845, the village of La Prairie was established. One year later, La Prairie-de-la-Magdelaine was established. In 1909, La Prairie obtained official city status.

Historically, the city has been an important transportation hub. The first railway line in British North America, the Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad, connected it with Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on July 21, 1836; the railway has 16 miles (26 km). The construction of a rail line between La Prairie and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu would greatly accelerate the commercial development of the village. Sea transport equally played an important role in La Prairie's history.

Geography and climate

Like the rest of southwestern Quebec, La Prairie has hot summers and cold winters, for a generally temperate climate. Winters are cold and sometimes long (snow is usually present from mid-November to mid-April), with temperatures occasionally dipping below -30 °C, not counting the windchill. During snowstorms, snowfall frequently surpasses 40 centimeters. In the summer, temperatures sometimes exceed 30 °C.


Canada census – La Prairie, Quebec community profile
2011 2006 2001
Population: 23,357 (+7.3% from 2006) 21,763 (+15.2% from 2001) 18,896 (+10.3% from 1996)
Land area: 43.28 km2 (16.71 sq mi) 43.28 km2 (16.71 sq mi) 43.69 km2 (16.87 sq mi)
Population density: 539.7/km2 (1,398/sq mi) 502.9/km2 (1,303/sq mi) 432.5/km2 (1,120/sq mi)
Median age: 39.2 (M: 38.5, F: 39.7) 37.9 (M: 37.6, F: 38.2) 37.3 (M: 37.0, F: 37.7)
Total private dwellings: 9,346 8,758 7,486
Median household income: $74,167 $64,754 $57,272
References: 2011[6] 2006[7] 2001[8]
Historical Census Data - La Prairie, Quebec[9]
1991 15,237    
1996 17,128+12.4%
2001 18,896+10.3%
2006 21,763+15.2%
2011 23,357+7.3%
Canada Census Mother Tongue - La Prairie, Quebec[9]
Mother tongue language
Census Total
French & English
Year Responses Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop % Count Trend Pop %
19,780 Increase 4.1% 86.39% 925 Increase 25.0% 4.04% 245 Increase 113.0% 1.07% 1,945 Increase 17.5% 8.50%
19,010 Increase 13.5% 88.34% 740 Increase 2.1% 3.44% 115 Decrease 25.8% 0.53% 1,655 Increase 89.1% 7.69%
16,745 Increase 12.6% 90.51% 725 Increase 26.1% 3.92% 155 Decrease 13.9% 0.84% 875 Decrease 18.6% 4.73%
14,870 n/a 89.04% 575 n/a 3.44% 180 n/a 1.08% 1,075 n/a 6.44%


Quebec Route 132 in La Prairie.

The CIT Le Richelain provides commuter and local bus services.


In 2013, Grand Boisé conservation park is planned to be created and orchestrated by Nature-Action. The park would include Smithers' swamp, as well as, Hydro-Quebec's servitude area in which the western chorus frog, a vulnerable specie in Quebec, is found in greatest numbers. There is a controversy involving the city housing development in that area which was supposed to be conserved integrally with high priority according to RCM of Roussillon 1990s' maps. Local environmental organisms, such as Vigile verte and Projet Rescousse, are denouncing the choice of that land for housing development. The debate is ongoing.


The town has three high schools: l'École de la Magdeleine, a public French school which offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme, Collège Jean de la Mennais, a private mixed French school and Saint-François-Xavier, a public French school.

The South Shore Protestant Regional School Board previously served the municipality.[10]

See also


  1. Reference number 34269 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (French)
  2. 1 2 "Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire: La Prairie". 1909-05-07. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  3. "Parliament of Canada Federal Riding History: BROSSARD-LA PRAIRIE (Quebec)". Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  4. Perreaux, Les (July 21, 2014). "Quebec mayor, stung by wasps, dies". Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  5. 1 2 "2011 Statistics Canada Census Profile: La Prairie, Quebec". Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  6. "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  7. "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  8. "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
  9. 1 2 Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  10. King, M.J. (Chairperson of the board). "South Shore Protestant Regional School Board" (St. Johns, PQ). The News and Eastern Townships Advocate. Volume 119, No. 5. Thursday December 16, 1965. p. 2. Retrieved from Google News on November 23, 2014.
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