The NDP sweep across Quebec has crushed the Bloc Québécois and claimed three Tory cabinet ministers.
The NDP won 58 seats of the province's 75 seats and reduced the Bloc to four from 47. The Liberals won seven seats, and the Conservatives took six.
The NDP, which previously had only Thomas Mulcair's Outremont seat in Montreal, made history with its gains.
Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe lost to NDP candidate Hélène Laverdière and resigned after leading the party through six elections.
Veterans' Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn lost his seat to the NDP's Claude Patry and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon lost to NDP candidate Mathieu Ravignat.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Josée Verner also lost her seat.
Controversial Conservative Maxime Bernier — known partly for speaking frankly on Conservative policy and mostly for a former girlfriend who consorted with biker gangs — won his seat in the Beauce.
NDP candidate Ruth Ellen Brosseau, who until the election managed a bar on Carleton University campus in Ottawa, won her race in Berthier-Maskinongé. Brosseau, who doesn't speak French, will represent a riding that's almost 100 per cent Francophone.
She rose to prominence in the election after taking a holiday in Las Vegas in the middle of the campaign. Contacted by the Globe and Mail, her co-worker said he didn't know she was running for Parliament in a riding more than 300 kilometres away.
Several high-profile MPs lost their seats, including Liberals Marlene Jennings, Pablo Rodriguez and Raymonde Folco.
Liberal Marcel Proulx lost his Hull-Aylmer seat to NDP candidate Nycole Turmel.
Former radio host André Arthur, who sat as an Independent, lost his seat to the NDP.
Liberals Dénis Coderre and Justin Trudeau held onto their seats. Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion also won his seat.
Earlier battle for Quebec
In the French-language debate, Duceppe had said only the Bloc could keep the Conservatives in check.
"Mr. Layton, you know as well as I do, that I'm not going to become prime minister, and neither will you," he said to NDP Leader Jack Layton.
Yet the story of the campaign became the NDP's "orange crush," much of which depended on whether the popularity suggested by the polls was followed up at the ballot box.
NDP support started to rise shortly after the leaders' debates, which is often the first opportunity for Canadians to get a long look at the leaders in action. Layton performed well in French and appealed to the nationalist vote, saying during the debate he would create the winning conditions for reopening the 1982 Constitution that Quebec never signed.
Layton called Quebec's exclusion from the Constitution a gap in the country's political history. However, he said constitutional discussions would not be a top priority for the NDP.
"We don’t see it as an immediate issue. The issues of immediate concern to people are getting a job, the fact that they don’t have doctors, the retirement security issues," he said.