Shawinigan is a city located on the Saint-Maurice River in the Mauricie area in Quebec. It has a population of approximately 51,904 people (2006).
In the late 1890s, Shawinigan Falls drew the interest of foreign entrepreneurs such as John Joyce and J. E. Aldred of the Shawinigan Water & Power Company (SW&P), and of Hubert Biermans of the Belgo Company because of its particular geographic situation. Its falls had the potential to become a favorable location for the production of hydroelectricity. In 1899, the SW&P commissioned Montreal engineering firm Pringle and Son to design a grid plan for a new industrial town, providing the ground work for what would become downtown Shawinigan.
In 1901, Shawinigan Falls was incorporated and became the site of the first production of aluminum in Canadian history. Other industries included pulp and paper, chemical production and textiles.