kids encyclopedia robot

Sorel-Tracy facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Ville de Sorel-Tracy
Aerial view of Sorel-Tracy
Aerial view of Sorel-Tracy
Location within Pierre-De Saurel RCM.
Location within Pierre-De Saurel RCM.
Sorel-Tracy is located in Southern Quebec
Location in Southern Quebec
Country  Canada
Province  Quebec
Region Montérégie
RCM Pierre-De Saurel
Constituted March 15, 2000
 • Land 57.46 km2 (22.19 sq mi)
 • Metro
233.78 km2 (90.26 sq mi)
 • City 34,755
 • Density 604.9/km2 (1,567/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density 204.3/km2 (529/sq mi)
 • Pop 2011–2016
Increase 0.3%
 • Dwellings
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
Area code(s) 450 and 579

Route 132
Route 133
Route 223

Sorel-Tracy is a city in southwestern Quebec, Canada and the geographical end point of the Champlain Valley. It is located at the confluence of the Richelieu River and the St. Lawrence River, on the western edge of Lac Saint-Pierre, downstream and northeast of Montreal. The population as of the Canada 2011 Census was 34,600. Its mayor is Serge Péloquin and it is the seat of the Pierre-De Saurel Regional County Municipality and the judicial district of Richelieu.

The city is the result of a voluntary amalgamation in 2001 between two cities, Sorel and Tracy, which developed on opposite shores of the Richelieu River: Tracy on the west shore (left) and Sorel on the east (right) shore. In 1992 Sorel had annexed the municipality of Saint-Pierre-de-Sorel; today it forms the southern part of its territory.

Sorel was founded in 1642. Tracy was founded on February 10, 1954, but prior to that, it was a parish municipality known as Saint-Joseph de Sorel. (This is not to be confused with the town of Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel, an independent municipality north of Tracy).

Sorel-Tracy is known for manufacturing related to the steel industry and metallurgy. It has a ferry linking the city to the village of Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola. Its shipyard built units of three frigates for the Canadian forces, and two ships in the late 1960s.


Fort Richelieu 1695
Plan of Fort Richelieu, 1695.

Sorel is the fourth oldest city in the province of Quebec. Its formation began in 1642 when Charles Huault de Montmagny, first Governor and Lieutenant-Governor of New France, built Fort Richelieu here as a defense for settlers and river travellers against the Iroquois. In 1647, the original fort was destroyed by the Iroquois but it was rebuilt by the Carignan-Salières Regiment on the same site in 1665.

The name Sorel comes from the first seigneur of the area, Pierre de Saurel. He was in command of a regiment of the Carignan-Salières that came over in August 1665. He was granted a seigneury by King Louis XIV in 1672, even though he had already built a manor house four years prior. The name Tracy comes from Lieutenant General Alexander de Prouville, Sieur de Tracy, who was overall in command of the Carignan-Salières Regiment directly under the Governor.

It is in Sorel that the Christmas tree made its first appearance in North America on Christmas Eve in 1781. After the visit of Prince William Henry, Duke of Gloucester to Sorel in 1787 the town took the name of William-Henry, a name it retained until 1845.

It is probable that before the American Revolution there were no English speaking people in Sorel. Although then merely a hamlet or village, this place was the scene of much activity. During 1776 large bodies of troops passed through and at times were stationed in the area; the German auxiliaries employed by England were quartered in Sorel as they arrived in the country. A letter from Governor Frederick Haldimand to Lord George Germain in October 1778, written from his camp in Sorel where fortifications were in progress, indicates his proposed use of the Seigniory.

It is my intention therefore, if time and circumstances favour me, to make Sorel a place of strength with Permanent Works, as the importance of it deserves. The Seigneurie of this Place is vested in merchants residing in England and the Inhabitants of it, people remarkable for their courage and resolution, have distinguished themselves very much by their attachment to the Government even at a time the Rebels were Masters of that Country, in which account I think it would serve the King's interest to bestow some Public mark of favour upon them such as remitting them the Quitrents which they pay for their land, to the Seigneur, and the Seigneurie being to be sold, and the purchase would not exceed 13,000, having been offered for that sum, I submit to Your Lordship whether it would not be best to give orders to treat immediately with the Proprietors, Messrs. Greenwood and Higgins in London, both for enabling me to effect the purchase...

The purchase was eventually made in 1781 and Sorel became a clearing house for the steady stream of Loyalist refugees from the south. A certain number of them settled in Sorel, forming the nucleus of the English population. Another addition was Sorel being selected as one of the stations for "Military Invalids", or “Outside Chelsea Pensioners" as they were also called. These old soldiers and their dependents, numbering several hundreds, were sent to Sorel under the medical care of Dr. Christopher Carter.

The earliest efforts for the propagation of the Protestant religion in Canada were made in Sorel. The continued influx of Loyalists during the year 1783 into the Seigniory prompted the population to search out a permanent Minister, and so at the end of the year, a petition was sent to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, begging them to send a Minister of the Gospel to reside in the Seigniory.

Following the request, the Reverend John Doty embarked during the month of April 1784 at Gravesend, England, and arrived at Quebec in June, and at Sorel on the 4th July 1784, where he celebrated Divine Service and preached his first sermon. This is the date of the foundation of the Anglican parish in Sorel and the first Anglican mission in Canada.

The chapel where the faithful united was a wooden building located at the end of King Street, a few steps from the Richelieu market. This building had already served as a military storehouse.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Sorel was the home of fur traders. In 1819, the town's presbytery was declared dangerously unfit. The character of the town, however, would change dramatically over the next few decades, due to the arrival of two influential figures.

In the 1820s, Sorel was the site of the Governor General of Lower Canada's governor's house, occupied George Ramsay, the Lord Dalhousie (after whom Dalhousie University is named). Ramsay quickly purchased land in the area for agricultural improvement. The small town was, due to the Governor General's presence, a centre for the turbulent politics of that time; the period leading up to the Lower Canada Rebellion. Locally, there was animosity between the colonial governor and the other prominent local figure, parish priest Jean-Baptiste Kelly.

Sorel Railway Accident
1875 railroad accident near Sorel.

Kelly oversaw a number of improvements and changes during his years in the town. The "dangerous" presbytery was rebuilt by 1832 (using stone from the original). The town's name was changed from William-Henry back to Sorel in 1845. The parish library was improved, containing four hundred volumes by 1846. In 1848 a monument to temperance was built by the community, along with a society for the care of the poor and sick, and for the education of girls. Kelly retired in 1849, after the completion of a new presbytery, having turned the older one into a college.

In 1875, a train accident on the Richelieu, Drummond, and Athabasca railroad line happened near Sorel.

Sorel was also the site of the construction of 3 out of 12 Halifax-class frigates of the Canadian Forces. The three Canadian patrol frigates built in Quebec were HMCS Ville de Québec, HMCS Regina and HMCS Calgary. The shipyard in Sorel-Tracy was called M.I.L. Tracy and built units for all three vessels and sent them by barge for final assembly at M.I.L. Davie in Lauzon, Quebec. Previous to the construction of the Halifax-class frigates, MIL (Marine Industries Ltd operated by the Simard family of Sorel) was responsible for the construction of HMCS Nipigon which was commissioned there in 1964. MIL was also the location of the construction of HMCS Bras d'Or, an experimental hydrofoil constructed by the Royal Canadian Navy. The construction of both ships was overseen by Cmdr. Donald Clark CD RCN.


Tracy Squadron Royal Military College Saint-Jean
Tracy Squadron, Royal Military College Saint-Jean

The Tracy Squadron at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean was named in honour of Sorel-Tracy.


French Canadians make up more than 97% of the city's population. Less than 2% of the population is foreign-born or second generation immigrants. Anglo-Canadians make up less than 1% of Sorel-Tracy's inhabitants.


Sorel-Tracy is within 75 kilometres (47 mi) of both Montreal and Trois-Rivières, and is easily accessible via Autoroute 30 from the west and via Route 132 from the east and west. Autoroute 30 stops at Sorel and picks up again at Bécancour, leaving an incomplete segment in between.

A year-round ferry operates on the St. Lawrence River between Sorel-Tracy and Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola on the way to Berthierville.


Climate data for Sorel-Tracy
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
Average high °C (°F) −6.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.2
Average low °C (°F) −16.2
Record low °C (°F) −41.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 74.3
Source: Environment Canada

Notable people from Sorel-Tracy

The painter Monique Régimbald-Zeiber was born in Sorel.


Public Officials

  • Canadian politician Pierre Paquette, a member of the Bloc Québécois, a Canadian political party.


The city is home to the historic Colisée Cardin, an ice hockey arena built in 1954. The Sorel Éperviers played there from 1969–77 and 1980–81. They advanced to the league final in 1974, losing the President's Cup (QMJHL) to the Quebec Remparts. Since the foundation of the LNAH (formerly QSPHL) in 1996, Sorel-Tracy has hosted a team for all but two seasons, 2008–2010. The team was known variously as Dinosaures, Mission, Royaux, GCI and HC Caverna before taking the name Sorel-Tracy Éperviers in 2012.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sorel-Tracy para niños

kids search engine
Sorel-Tracy Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.