Visit Rivière‑des‑Prairies hydropower generating station!

Laval, QC

Reservations and practical information

Aerial view of Rivière‑des‑Prairies generating station, between Montréal and Laval

Hydro-Québec’s urban generating station

I’m located between the Laval and Montréal river banks. The current is very strong between the two cities! Built in the 1920s, my architecture is influenced by the Art Deco style and, not that I want to brag, but people usually find me rather pretty!

People are often (pleasantly) surprised by my interior: my floors, beams and equipment are painted blue, red or yellow. Just because I’m a hydropower generating station doesn’t mean I should always wear gray! Colors are so much livelier!

When you come see me, in addition to admiring my appearance, you’ll get to:

  • touch a turbine runner (which isn’t operating, of course).
  • walk on my 220‑metre spillway and feel the raw power of the water flowing through it.
  • learn how the Montréal region was electrified, and much more!

Believe me, you’ll love your outing, whether you come alone, as a couple or with your family! And it’s free! By the way, if you’re hooked on fishing, there’s a footbridge nearby where you can cast your line!


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?

Close-up of a generator inside the generating station.

I got a makeover just for you!

First painted dark green, beige and black, my interior got a makeover when it opened to the public in 1977. To brighten it up, Hydro‑Québec decided to add color. My decor was inspired from modernism and the De Stijl movement, which embraced a return to primary colours.

Top view of the generating station's generator floor.

Hydropower heavyweights!

Imagine! Each of my generating units weighs 110 tonnes, as much as 22 elephants! Those are numbers worth trumpeting!

Aerial view of Rivière-des-Prairies generating station and Montréal.

City slicker

I’m the only generating station to be located in the heart of the largest energy consumption area in Québec, between Montréal and Laval.


My history

My construction practically coincides with the beginning of Montréal’s electrification, which means that I’m part of history! But I was once all the rage with my architecture that reflects the trends of my time, the Art Deco style, like the Beauharnois generating station built during the same years as I was.

1914–1918: World War I

1928: Construction launched by the Montreal Island Company

With industrialization in full swing, discussions about my construction began between the Montreal Island Company and the Québec government in 1923. Construction to finally began in 1928.

1928: Construction of cofferdams – first development work for the future generating station.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1929: Stock market crash

1929–1930: Partial commissioning and end of construction

In 1929, the Montreal Island Company became part of Montreal Light, Heat and Power Consolidated. At the height of the work, 1,500 people were working on the construction site. However, with the stock market crash and the river’s inconstant flow, the number of generating units built at the generating station was reduced from 10 to 6.

1929: Workers at the generating station's jobsite.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1939–1945: World War II

1944: First phase of electricity nationalization in Québec

When electricity was nationalized, I was one of the first generating stations to become the property of Hydro‑Québec, which became the owner of Montreal Light, Heat and Power’s assets: one gas system and five generating stations—Chambly, Lachine, Les Cèdres, Beauharnois and me.

Montreal Light, Heat and Power Consolidated logo.

Source: Hydro‑Québec Archives

1960: Beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Québec

1963: Second phase of electricity nationalization in Québec

1976: The Parti Québécois is elected for the first time

1983–1985: Construction of a new spillway

In the early 1980s, a new 220‑metre‑long spillway equipped with 13 large gates was built. When the gates are all open, the amount of water that passes through the spillway each second would be enough to fill 50 pools! Each of the spillway’s doors weighs 105 tonnes. The structure also made it possible to expand an existing natural lake sturgeon spawning ground.

Downstream view of the generating station's spillway.

2001: September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States

2008–2009: My restoration

Because I’m part of Québec’s hydropower heritage, Hydro‑Québec restored all the cracked bricks on my building’s surface—50,000 bricks were replaced by clay bricks made in the same way as they were in 1929 in order to preserve my Art Deco style.

The generating station's Art Deco-inspired brick walls.

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.

Children outside Rivière-des-Prairies generating station.

Thank you for offering these tours. Everyone should take advantage of them!

Thank you, Simon, for a great guided tour!

Lots of interaction, very enriching!

A tour guide and a family outside the generating station.

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

Rivière‑des‑Prairies Generating Station – Interpretation Center
3400, rue du Barrage
Laval (Québec) H7E 5A2

Tel. : 1 800 365-5229 (between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.)Tel. : 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!)

Accessibility

The tour of the generating station is on foot and includes some stairs.

KÉROUL CERTIFICATION

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

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

Services

  • Free parking

  • Accessible by public transit

  • Restrooms

Directions

The tour begins at the generating station’s interpretation center. Here’s how to get there:

  • From Boulevard Lévesque Est in Laval, turn onto Rue du Barrage. Park on the street.
  • Walk down the hill leading to the entrance of the path to the generating station.
  • Follow the “Visites guidées” (guided tours) signs to the interpretation center (trailer).

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, to Visit Rivière‑des‑Prairies 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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