Trois-PistolesTrois-Pistoles, Qué, Town, pop 3500 (2006c), 3635 (2001c), inc 1916. Trois-Pistoles is located 250 km northeast of Québec City on the south shore of the ST LAWRENCE R, between Rivière-du-Loup and Rimouski. According to legend, the name was given to the river at whose mouth the town is located because sailors once lost a silver goblet worth 3 gold pistoles in the river. BASQUES were among the fishermen and whale hunters who sailed to the river's estuary before John Cabot's explorations in N America. The remains of several ovens used to melt whale oil have been found on the island opposite the town, appropriately named Ile-aux-Basques.
The seigneury of Trois-Pistoles was granted to Denis de Vitré in 1687. The mission was served by priests from Kamouraska until 1783 and by missionaries 1783-1806, at which time the first resident priest arrived. The municipality's major economic activities were agriculture and forest resources. Trois-Pistoles is now a small service-industry town where tourism (whale observation) is growing in importance as a result of the summer ferry link with the N shore.