Visit Beauharnois hydropower
generating station!

Montérégie, QC

Reservations and practical information

Aerial view of Beauharnois generating station and canal, as well as the Fleuve Saint‑Laurent (St. Lawrence River)

One of the world’s largest hydropower generating stations

I’m one of the world’s largest hydropower generating stations and the fifth largest in Québec. I have 36 generating units spread out over almost a kilometre. I know—that’s huge! I’m quite proud of myself! I was built in the 1930s and, not that I want to brag, but my Art Deco-inspired architecture’s got style. In fact, I’ve even won awards for my appearance and was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. Pretty classy, right?

Come see me! I’m only 40 kilometres from downtown Montréal. I’ll even let you go down one of my turbine shafts, just to impress you. And don’t forget my interpretation center! You’ll be captivated! A guide will take you on your tour and explain who I am in detail. You’ll see, my guides are pros and very friendly!

I bet you’ll know all about how electricity is generated after you leave.

I’m waiting for you! The tour is free.

Feast your eyes!

Have a look at these pictures to get a sneak peek of your guided tour.

Did you know?

The elegant front door of Beauharnois generating station.

Elegant architecture

Like New York City’s Empire State Building, my architecture is inspired by Art Deco, a style known for its elegant aesthetics popular during the 1920s. Even though my construction lasted more than 30 years, those who built me respected my architecture’s pure lines and classic compositions, preserving my robust and proud look. You’re sure to be amazed!

A view of the generating station's generators.

Fifty African elephants

My 36 generating units each have a 300‑tonne rotor, as heavy as 50 African elephants! With my installed capacity of more than 1,900 megawatts, I can power nearly 400,000 homes. That’s the size of a city like Laval!

Aerial view of Beauharnois generating station and canal.

Three Olympic pools

Every second, 8 million litres of water flow through me, enough to fill three Olympic-sized pools!

Aerial view of the enormous Québec flag located on the eastern side of the generating station.

The largest flag in Québec

There is a huge flag near to where I am. It measures 200 metres by 100 metres! It was installed in 1953. Since then, it has been a key visual cue for pilots of eastbound planes landing on runways 6 left and 6 right at Trudeau airport. It can’t be missed!

Aerial view of the canal and the generating station.

Ten football fields

I’m the longest and most powerful run‑of‑river generating station in Québec. I’m 926 metres long, the length of ten football fields laid end to end!

My history

I was built in three phases: 1929 to 1932, 1948 to 1951, and 1956 to 1961. That’s almost 35 years! Find out (almost) everything about me with these historical milestones.

1881–1889: Construction of the Panama Canal

1914–1918: World War I

1929–1932: Construction begins and phase 1 is commissioned

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.

View of the jobsite of the first phase of construction of the generating station.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1939–1945: World War II

1944: First phase of electricity nationalization

Adélard Godbout’s Liberal government decided to nationalize electric companies in Québec, and Hydro-Québec was born. I was one of the four hydropower generating stations acquired by the brand-new government-owned corporation.

April 1944: The taking of possession of the Montreal Light, Heat and Power Consolidated's Power Building.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1948–1951: Construction and commissioning of phase 2

Hydro‑Québec began the second phase of my construction and installed a spillway. The project was completed in 1951 with the addition of 12 generating units.

Excavation work at the jobsite of the second phase of the construction of the generating station.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1956–1961: Construction and commissioning of phase 3

In 1956, with the increase in Québec’s population and the demand for electricity, the third phase of construction began. Five years later, in 1961, the 10 remaining generating units were commissioned. I then became the most powerful generating station in Canada. This major project saw its last workers leave in 1964.

Aerial view of Beauharnois generating station and canal: the three phases of construction are complete.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1960: Beginning of the Quiet Revolution

1962: Maîtres chez nous! – Election of Jean Lesage’s Liberal Party

1963: Second phase of electricity nationalization

1967: Montréal’s Expo 67 is held

1990: Designation as a National Historic Site

Because of my exceptional heritage value and the key role I played in the 20th century’s industrial and metropolitan history, and in changing the way of life of Canadians, I was designated as a national historic site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1990. Quite the honor!

Beauharnois, a masterpiece of Québec's industrial history in the 20th century.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1994–2021: Generating station refurbishment work

An ambitious program to refurbish me started in 1994 and ran until 2021. It was quite a challenge to modernize and “rebuild” me while keeping me in operation!

2013: Installation of a new Kaplan turbine on unit 32.

2021: Start of the modernization project for the Beauharnois‑Les Cèdres complex

In 2021, a new project to modernize the Beauharnois–Les Cèdres hydropower complex’s structures was initiated.

A diver prepares to inspect structures located under water.

It’s well worth the trip!

Don’t take our word for it: this is what the people who visited the generating station with our guides had to say.

Students in front of the entrance to Beauharnois generating station.

Very interesting. I got answers to questions I’d wondered about for ages.

Enthusiastic, pleasant guide. Very knowledgeable about the generating station’s history.

Super! Everyone should take advantage of it.

A child in front of a former diving suit on display at the interpretation centre.

Reservations and practical information

Visitors aged 18 and over must present official photo ID.

(accepted ID: health insurance card, driver’s license or passport)

At a glance

Free admission

Reservations are required at all times and must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Length of tour

About 90 mins

Tours start at set times. We recommend that you arrive 15 minutes in advance.

Tour schedule

From June 6 to August 28, 2022

Daily at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. (reservations required)

From September 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023

Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. (reservations required)

School tours

Looking for original tours featuring science, history and technical know-how? Hydro-Québec’s got just the ticket!
Check it out!

Contact information

Beauharnois Generating Station and Interpretation Center
80, boul. de Melocheville
Beauharnois (Québec) J6N 0M1

Tel. : 1 800 365-5229Tel. : 1 800 365-5229 (between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
Get in touch by email.

How to get there

Know before you go
(yes, really, it’s important!)


The tour of the generating station is on foot and includes some stairs. It is partially accessible to people with reduced mobility.

The tour of the generating station is accessible or partially accessible to people with reduced mobility

Minimum age

The tour is suitable for adults and school-age children but is not recommended for children under the age of two, for safety reasons.

Pacemakers and other medical implants

Electric and/or magnetic fields may disrupt operation of pacemakers, implantable automatic defibrillators and processors in cochlear implants. As a precaution, visitors with these types of medical implants may not participate in the part of the tour that takes place inside the generating station.

Those with a neurostimulator must temporarily stop the device before entering the generating station. If they are unable to stop the device, they are advised not to enter.

For regular tours, there is no risk of interference for insulin pumps.

What to wear

Visitors must wear flat, closed-toe shoes and the safety gear provided inside the generating station. Note that part of the tour is outdoors. Dress accordingly!


  • Picnic tables

  • Free parking

  • Electric vehicle charging station

  • Accessible by public transit

  • Proximity to a bike path

  • Souvenir shop

  • Partially accessible to people with reduced mobility

  • Restrooms


  • Take exit 22 off Highway 30.
  • Turn left at the intersection to take Route 236, which will become Boulevard de l’Énergie.
  • Follow the blue signs for guided tours.
  • Public parking is on the right when you arrive.

For additional information

Book your tour!

Free admission

Reservations are required at all times and must be made at least
24 hours in advance.

To reserve a free guided tour in English, please call 1 800 365-5229 1 800 365-5229 .
Get in touch by email.

Tour Rallies

Try one of our two rallies while you’re on the premises, either before or after your tour.

  • “The Beauharnois story” (for adults and teens).
  • “Discover the construction history of the Beauharnois generating station!” (for children aged 6 to 12)

It’s easy! Download the Tour Rallies app, choose a rally, then have fun taking the quiz! (Psst! The answers to all the questions can be found in the permanent exhibition at the interpretation center.)

The Tour Rallies app on a cellphone.
Ce lien mène à l'extérieur du site d'Hydro-Québec. Ce lien mène à l'extérieur du site d'Hydro-Québec.