The site of the future Chapais was settled as a result of discovering of rich deposits of copper, silver and gold in 1929. The city was incorporated in 1955.
About 1700 people live there. Opemiska Copper Mines, the main employer in those days, was in charge of providing services to the dwellers. Today, founded as a mining town, Chapais has developed its economic activities with the opening of sawmill in the 1970s.
Its Barrette-Chapais Company is among the forestry companies in Canada with the highest output. It employs over 500 workers, and it enabled the town to survive the exodus of its population after the mine had been closed in 1991.
The citizens of Chapais, determined to ensure the development of their community, maximized the productivity of the forest bio-mass by opening the first co-generator plant in Quebec. This system produces energy from the waste matter of the saw-mill, an ecological alternative for producing energy.
Over the last few years the community has developed as well tourist attractions. Among the tourist attractions we can mention the Waterfalls Park, developed on a peninsula of the city, which site had been used as a meeting place for the shareholders of Opemiska Copper Mine, Ltd; a Memorial in honour of Leo Springer, a prospector whose discoveries led to the founding of the town of Chapais; a Cree nation cemetery at the centre of a pine grove in the purest Native tradition; two memorials of the great fire which took place in 1980, when 48 people perished; the outdoor Mining Museum, a unique cultural attraction where visitors can learn about the origins of Chapais.
Chapais is located along the Road 113.