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Around 1730, the « Chemin du Roy » becomes the first ridable road between Montreal and Quebec. It takes two days to make the trip. For the villages along the St. Lawrence River, canoes, rowboats and sailboats are rapidly becoming privileged transportation means for passengers and goods.
The History of boats in Mauricie
Way before the arrival of the first Europeans in America, Amerindians had acknowledged for a long time Shawinigan's falls. In Algonquian language, Shawinigan's falls was called Achawénégane. It is Francis Hall in 1816 who changed the spelling for Shawinigan which mainly refers to the portage. Following the municipal mergers of 2002, Shawinigan is now the 14th most important city in Quebec.
In the XIXth century, wood sawing was the main activity of workers, especially on the inhabited territory between Trois-Rivières and La Tuque. Sawed wood was prepared for exportation on boats loaded in Trois-Rivières. To ensure the transportation of workers towards the interior of the lands, steamboats, canoes and barges were used.
In 1825, the Government of the Province of Lower Canada acknowledged that it was impossible to build a road between Lac St-Jean, Trois-Rivières and La Tuque even along the sides of the Saint-Maurice shores. The forest was too thick and the only way would stay the navigation by the Saint-Maurice and its affluents.
Different means of transportation is used throughout the centuries in order to cross both sides of the river. At the beginning of the XIXth century, rowboats where the hull rests on skates are used in winter. In summer rowboats are replaced by horse boats (boats moving using horses with an endless belt that sets in motion a water wheel). It is in 1880 that steam ferries ensure the transportation of passengers and goods.
In 1935, Moïse Cadorette starts a company which fabricates canoes and small pleasure boats in St-Jean-des-Piles. In 1956, he introduces fiberglass in the manufacturing of his products to mould the hulls, it is the first time it is done in Canada. It is in 1972 that Doral is officially born. In 1979, two local entrepreneurs are buying Moïse Cadorette aiming to make it grow rapidly. In 1989, the company moves to Grand-Mère by joining forces with Thundercraft and Canot Cadorette.
The competition is high in boat construction in the 1950's. Canots Saint-Maurice is competing with Cadorette. Canots Saint-Maurice is specialized in the making of small pleasure boats in fiberglass. Its production is aimed essentially for the Canadian market.
At the end of the 90's, Doral International is now a company doing business in more than 25 countries across the world. Doral is now a major and challenging player in the Sport and Cruiser boat industry. The commitment of the managers and the employees at all the manufacturing steps is, without any doubt, the secret card for Doral's success!
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