Visit the Robert‑Bourassa generating facility (La Grande‑2)!

Eeyou Istchee Baie-James, QC

Reservations and practical information

Aerial view of the Robert‑Bourassa facility (previously La Grande‑2), including the spillway, dam and reservoir

The largest hydropower generation facility in North America

I’m part of the “project of the century,” and it was called that for a good reason! To give you an idea, the La Grande complex generates half the electricity consumed in Québec.

I’m the most powerful underground generating station in the world and Hydro‑Québec’s most powerful. No less!

My spillway is gigantic and my dam is as high as a 53‑storey building. Feeling dizzy yet? As for my reservoir, each of the Earth’s inhabitants could draw 10,000 litres of water from it before it ran dry. Imagine the size!

It was Premier Robert Bourassa who came up with the idea of building the La Grande complex in Baie‑James. That’s why I was renamed the Robert Bourassa generation facility after having been called La Grande‑2 for years.

When humans put their minds to it, they can be quite ingenious. I’m proof of that! If you’re heading for Baie‑James, come see me! I promise you’ll be blown away, and you’ll get to admire awe-inspiring northern landscapes along the way. See you soon!

Feast your eyes!

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

Did you know?

View of the spillway from below.

Colossal dimensions

My spillway was designed like a giant staircase to reduce water velocity and prevent erosion. Each of its 10 steps is as big as two football fields and 10 metres high!

Aerial view of a truck convoy during the construction of the James Bay highway.

Where there once was no road

When the “project of the century” was taking shape, there was no road to get to the construction site. To transport materials, equipment and workers, a 620‑km road was built in the space of three years. A record! It was inaugurated in 1974 and connects Matagami to Radisson. You’ll drive on it to come see me.

Couple at the Parc commémoratif des bâtisseurs.

Over 100,000 names!

The Parc commémoratif des Bâtisseurs is a tribute to the exceptional contribution of the workers who built northern Québec’s hydropower facility. More than 100,000 names of those who helped build the La Grande complex have been immortalized on panels.

Some images are from the Hydro‑Québec Archives.

My history

Before I became the most powerful underground generating station in the world with my 5,616‑MW capacity, there were those who fervently believed in developing hydropower in Baie‑James. It was a long journey!

1944: First phase of electricity nationalization in Québec

1960: Beginning of the Quiet Revolution in Québec

1963: Second phase of electricity nationalization in Québec

1971: Launch of the “project of the century”

In April 1971, Premier Robert Bourassa launched the “project of the century” in Baie‑James (me!). One year later, the river that would be used was chosen: the La Grande river. It was the beginning of the huge construction sites that resulted in the La Grande complex.

“Never let it be said that we shall live like paupers on a land this rich”
said Robert Bourassa, the “father of James Bay,” when he announced the hydropower megaproject in Baie‑James on April 30, 1971.

Robert Bourassa and Robert-A. Boyd, President of the Société d’énergie de la Baie James from 1972 to 1976 and President and CEO of Hydro-Québec from 1977 to 1981.

Source: Hydro-Québec Archives

1973: Construction begins at La Grande‑2 generating station

Construction, which began in 1973, continued for more than four decades, in a vast territory in mid‑northern Québec. In the beginning, newly arrived employees slept in tents heated by a wood stove. Gradually, the work camp turned into a small town. At the height of the work, many services were offered to the 6,000 people who worked there, but what left a lasting impression was the huge cafeteria and the colossal number of meals served every day. For breakfast alone, more than 10,000 eggs and some 4,000 steaks were cooked!

Workers refuelling at the LG-2 workcamp cafeteria.

Source: Hydro-Québec Archives

1974: Arrival of women in Baie‑James

In the summer of 1974, a first contingent of women workers landed in Baie‑James. When the project began, there were less than 40 women among nearly 5,000 men. They were nurses, administrative assistants and cooks. Specialized employees would soon join them. They slept in dormitories that men were prohibited from entering on pain of expulsion.

Workers from the LG-2 workcamp heading to the cafeteria.

Source: Hydro-Québec Archives

1975: Signing of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement

After lengthy negotiations, the Cree and Inuit populations agreed to the development of Baie‑James’s rivers and signed the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement on November 11, 1975. The Québec government recognized their hunting and fishing rights and granted them financial compensation.

Billy Diamond, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, signing the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement.

Source: Hydro-Québec Archives

1976: First time the Parti Québécois is elected

1979‑1981: La Grande‑2 generating station is commissioned

In October 1979, Premier René Lévesque commissioned the first generating unit at La Grande‑2 generating station (me!), the first in the La Grande complex to generate electricity. At 137 metres underground, I became the largest underground generating station in the world, and Hydro‑Québec’s most powerful.

Premier René Lévesque and Jerry Filion, generating station operator, at the inauguration of LG-2.

Source: Hydro-Québec Archives

1996: La Grande‑2 changes names

After Robert Bourassa, the father of the project of the century, passed away, I was renamed “the Robert‑Bourassa generating facility” in his honor.

Premier Robert Bourassa visiting Baie-James (James Bay).

Source: Hydro-Québec Archives

2002: The Paix des Braves is signed and work on the Eastmain generating stations begins

The Paix des Braves paved the way for the development of the Eastmain‑1, Eastmain‑1‑A (renamed Bernard‑Landry after his passing) and Sarcelle generating stations, with a partial diversion of the Rupert. Today, the La Grande complex, which I’m a part of, has 11 hydropower generating stations and 9 reservoirs.

2002: Québec Premier Bernard Landry and Ted Moses, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, signing the Paix des Braves.

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.

A couple taking a photo in front of the spillway.

Remarkable, friendly and competent guide who explained things very clearly. She made me want to tour other Hydro‑Québec facilities.

Very interesting and rewarding tour. A lot of information on many subjects related to the generating station.

An extraordinary visit. Bravo!

A smiling child at the interpretation center at the Robert-Bourassa generating facility.

Reservations and practical information

At a glance

Free admission

Reservations are required at all times and must be made at least 48 hours in advance.

Length of tour

About four hours

Tours start at set times. Visitors must arrive 15 minutes in advance to sign in.

If the date you would like to visit is less than 48 hours away or if you have special needs (someone in your group wears a pacemaker or has reduced mobility, etc.), please call us at 1 800 291‑8486 1 800 291‑8486.


Given the distance between the Robert‑Bourassa Generating Facility and La Grande‑1 generating station, you cannot visit both in the same day. To visit both facilities, you need to plan to stay at least three days.

Transportation to La Grande‑1 generating station is not included. To get to the tour starting point, you need to drive approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes on a fully paved road.

Tour schedule

From September to the end of May

Monday to Friday, on request, subject to availability. Reservations required.

From mid‑June to the end of August

Two tours per week, Thursdays and Saturdays
Tour begins at 8 a.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

Robert‑Bourassa Generating Facility – Interpretation Center
Complexe Pierre‑Radisson
66, avenue des Groseilliers
Radisson (Québec) J0Y 2X0

Tel.: 1 800 291-84861 800 291-8486 (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 is by bus, but it includes stops, a 0.5‑km walk in the generating station and one staircase.


  • Partially accessible to people with reduced mobility
  • Offers one or more services for people with impaired vision
  • Offers one or more services for people with impaired hearing

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

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


  • Free parking

  • Electric vehicle charging stations

  • Souvenir shop

  • Restrooms

  • Campground


Bus transportation from Radisson to tour the Robert‑Bourassa Generating Facility.

Note: Transportation directly to La Grande‑1 generating station is not included. To get to the tour starting point, you need to drive approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes on a fully paved road.

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 1 800 291-84861 800 291-8486.
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.

  • “In the footsteps of pioneers: construction of the Robert‑Bourassa development” (for adults and families)
  • “Radisson, past and present” (for adults and families)

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.