At the end of the 19th century, companies were looking for places to build generating stations in Québec. The Beauharnois Light, Heat and Power found a location near Saint‑Louis and Saint‑François lakes, which had the immense advantage of being close to Montréal and the Fleuve Saint‑Laurent (St. Lawrence River).
In 1929, during the stock market crash, engineer Robert O. Sweezey undertook a colossal project able to handle the immense flow of the mighty river. Then began the dredging of a huge canal to bring the water to the place where I would be built. To build the 25‑kilometre‑long, 1‑kilometre‑wide canal, 200 million cubic metres of material had to be excavated, nearly 20% more than for the Panama Canal.
In 1932, my first phase was commissioned, and 14 of my generating units began to supply the Montréal area. In 1933, after a financial scandal, I became the property of the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Company.