Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Qué, Town, pop 15 605 (2006c), 12 385 (2001c), inc 1969. Saint-Basile-le-Grand is located between Mont Saint-Bruno and the Rivière RICHELIEU about 35 km east of MONTRÉAL. Saint-Basile-le-Grand made the headlines in August 1988 when it was the site of a blazing inferno after a warehouse containing PCBs (see Persistent Organic Pollutants) exploded. This ecological disaster forced the evacuation of a large part of the population. The town was thrown into crisis again when the great ice storm of 1998 caused a power blackout that lasted weeks.
The name Saint-Basile has very little to do with the 4th century Bishop of Caesarea except that a farmer, Basile Daigneault, got his name in honour of the patron saint. When Saint-Basile-le-Grand became a parish municipality in 1871, Daigneault was the first mayor. He also donated the plot of land on which the church was built in 1876.