Visit Rapides‑Farmer hydropower generating station!

Outaouais, QC

Reservations and practical information

Aerial view of Rapides‑Farmer generating station and the Rivière Gatineau

A gem of the Outaouais region near downtown Gatineau

Soon to be a century old and still full of energy, I’m one of the gems of the Outaouais’s industrial history! If you’re coming to the region and are looking for a great free activity, why not pop in to see me? It’s sure to be a unique outing, whether you come alone, with your better half or your family!

You’ll be invited to go inside one of my generating units and look straight up to admire a 160-tonne rotor in action! I’m convinced you’ll love the experience! I bet that you’ll also be impressed by my unique structures, especially my weir that discharges water into the former bed of the Rivière Gatineau.

The guides will be happy to share my story with you. Before my river was used to generate hydropower, it was used for log driving. But that’s all I’ll say for now. To unlock all my secrets, you’ll have to come for a visit. I can’t wait to see you!

A sneak peek!

Have a look at these pictures for a hint of what your guided tour has in store for you!

Did you know?

View of the generating station's weir.

Like a bathtub

I don’t have a spillway. Instead, I have a 442‑metre‑long weir that lets out excess water once it reaches a certain level, like the overflow in a bathtub. My weir has 27 pillars and 28 outlet channels, called chutes, that look like big concrete water slides!

Aerial view of the Chelsea and Rapides-Farmer generating stations on the Rivière Gatineau.

Make a detour!

I was first built on the east bank of the Gatineau, which was diverted so that water could flow through me. Now that’s practical!

View of the construction of the dam in 1926.

Over a million bricks

I have 1,400,000 bricks! Isn’t that impressive? In addition to all these bricks, 2,750 tonnes of reinforcing and structural steel and 103,000 m3 of concrete were used to build me. I’m the real deal!

View of Rapides-Farmer generating station in 1942.

I’m described as “rationalist”

As my facades and volumes are rather uncluttered and my composition was influenced by the Beaux‑Arts style, it’s often said that I’m a model of rationalist industrial architecture.

The Chelsea and Rapides-Farmer generating stations in the foreground.

A long journey

In 1926, the Baskatong reservoir was created to regulate the flow of the Gatineau and supply generating stations downstream. I’m located about 200 kilometres away from the reservoir. A drop of water flowing from the reservoir thus travels seven days before passing through one of my turbines.

Some images are from the Hydro‑Québec Archives.

My history

In fact, I’ve had a great many experiences since I was commissioned in 1927 and I can be proud of my contribution to hydropower generation and Hydro-Québec’s heritage.

1914–1918: World War I

1926: Construction begins at Rapides‑Farmer generating station

In the early 1920s, the Gatineau Power Company, a subsidiary of the Canadian International Paper Company, became interested in the Gatineau’s steep gradient for its hydropower potential. The Gatineau Power Company built reservoirs along the river to regulate its flow. In addition to building me, the Gatineau Power Company simultaneously developed the Paugan and Chelsea generating stations.

Mercier dam, in the Vallée de la Gatineau, paved the way for the creation of Baskatong reservoir.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1927: Commissioning

Fifteen months to build a generating station is fast! Once I was commissioned, the electricity I generated was used to supply the pulp and paper mills of the Canadian International Paper Company, which was the largest paper company in the world at the time.

1929: The turbine floor at Rapides-Farmer generating station.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1929: Stock market crash

1939–1945: World War II

1944: First phase of electricity nationalization in Québec

1947: A fifth generating unit is commissioned

When I was first built, I had three generating units in operation. In 1929, a fourth generating unit was installed, followed by a fifth in 1947. I now have five generating units! With my installed capacity of 104 MW, I can supply almost 25,000 homes.

Gatineau Power Company logo in 1959.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1960: Beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Québec

1963: Second phase of electricity nationalization in Québec

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.

Visitors inside the interpretation centre.

Very good guide and great tour. The children learned a lot.

Great tour! It’s important to keep these facilities accessible.

Well explained for everyone in the family.

Visitor putting on a helmet.

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 minutes

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

Tour schedule

From mid-June to the end of August

Tour times
Four tours per day: 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.

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

Rapides-Farmer Generating Station – Interpretation Center
2740, rue Saint-Louis
Gatineau (Québec) J8V 3X6

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.

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 (hard hat, safety glasses and headphones) provided to them to enter the generating station.

Part of the tour takes place outdoors, so dress accordingly!


  • Free parking

  • Restrooms


The tour begins at the generating station’s interpretation center. Directions from Hull:

  • Take Boulevard Saint‑Joseph (Route 105) north toward Cantley.
  • Take the Alonzo‑Wright Bridge, then Route 307 North.
  • Turn left into the first entrance.

(If you’re arriving by Route 307 South, turn right into the second entrance instead.)

The parking lot is located along the metal fence. This is where visitors who have booked a tour must meet their guide 15 minutes before the tour is scheduled to begin.

For additional information

Book your tour!

Free admission

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

Reserve, Visit Rapides-Farmer hydropower generating station

For any other information, call us at 1 800 365-52291 800 365-5229.
Get in touch by email.

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