The Parc de la Rive’s story began in the 17th century. The Eastern Townships did not yet exist. The incessant wars between the Europeans and the Amerindians brought about major changes. One of these changes occurred in 1669 when the Abenaki peoples of New England were forced into exile by the growing British colonies, and consequently settled as refugees in New France. After several years, they were granted the villages of Odanak and Wolinak, close to Trois-Rivières and Bécancour. From these new locations, they travelled down the St. Francis River to hunt and trade. They subsequently came upon a site that they nicknamed “Pihmilosek,” which means “where the water swirls.” The water is turbulent there, due to two large waterfalls that require a portage. During this portage, the Abenakis left their mark in the form of petroglyphs along the banks of the Parc de la Rive. These petroglyphs were discovered and extracted in the 1960s and today they are on display at the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science.
The Parc de la Rive’s fascinating history doesn’t stop there. Over the course of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, explorers also portaged at this site. At the same time, so did major military expeditions on their way to New England. In 1797, the first colonists of the Township of Brompton settled in this location and, because of the waterfalls found there, named it Brompton Falls. Therefore, it is here that the region’s story begins, at the Parc de la Rive.