Over the years, Hydro-Québec has acquired a rich heritage comprising not only sites, buildings, facilities and equipment, but extensive expertise as well.
In a policy entitled Our Social Role, the government corporation committed to preserving that heritage. Found in every corner of Québec, these assets are closely intertwined with our history. Including artefacts that date back to the nationalizations of 1944 and 1963, Hydro-Québec’s heritage collection showcases the central role that hydroelectric development has played in Québec’s technical, scientific and socioeconomic development.
Three categories of heritage assets
- Built heritage: sites, generating stations, substations, administrative buildings and structural remains
- Technological heritage: generating, transmission and distribution equipment
- Intangible heritage: expertise from the past and accounts of how the company's specialized trades and activities have evolved over time
Identify heritage assets so that they can be protected and showcased. Since the 1980s, Hydro-Québec has conducted inventories of its built and technological heritage to determine its historical value. Items are studied according to specific criteria, such as whether they are made up of original components, and recommendations are made for their conservation.
Protect sites, building architecture, equipment and expertise that are gradually being lost due to obsolescence. Hydro-Québec is frequently faced with having to balance the need to upgrade its facilities with the desire to preserve original components. For that reason, assets are regularly inventoried and follow-up measures are put in place to ensure the resulting recommendations are implemented. In fact, Hydro-Québec has won several awards for its efforts to preserve its architectural heritage during major upgrade projects. Examples include Beauharnois generating station and the Jarry administrative centre in Montréal.
Whenever technological heritage assets have to be dismantled, several preservation options are considered. For example, personal accounts and visual recordings (photos, film and video) can help in preserving records of large facilities and redeveloping the associated know-how.
Showcase our heritage. To this end, Hydro-Québec welcomes visitors to its facilities. In addition, it has created a historical collection that features many examples of its technological heritage. As far as possible, all pieces are kept in their original location or nearby, to facilitate interpretation. Moreover, video recordings illustrate the expertise associated with these items. Under certain conditions, Hydro-Québec even lends objects from its historical collection to other exhibitions.