In 1980, Hydro-Québec oversaw the installation of the LG-2 Dam on the La Grande River in James Bay. Thanks to this dam and many others, Quebec is one of the largest producers of electricity in North America.

The beginning of the century

The first hydroelectric dams were built by private companies on the rivers of southern Quebec, such as the Saint-Maurice River. At the beginning of the century, large private companies like the Shawinigan Water & Power Co. and Montreal Light Heat and Power controlled the production and distribution of electricity

The creation of Hydro-Québec

During the first half of the century, the Quebec government had left the control of the production of electricity in the hands of private companies. However, in 1944, it decided to intervene by buying the Montreal Light Heat and Power to create Hydro-Québec. The Quebec government did this because electricity prices were very high, especially in Montreal. Hydro-Québec made a commitment provide electricity at a reasonable price to all consumers in the region of Montreal.

Source: Archives de Radio-Canada, Détourner les eaux, 3 mars 1991.

Electrification

During the years following World War II, power consumption increased quickly in Quebec, particularly because of the large number of electrical appliances found in homes. The government also passed a law to promote rural electrification. In 1945, only 19% of farms in Quebec had access to electricity. In 1955, 90% of them had access.

Nationalization

See video in French at http://primaire.recitus.qc.ca/sujets/13/agriculture-commerce-et-industrie/3987

In 1962, the Quebec government became more involved in hydroelectric production by nationalizing electricity, meaning they bought all private electricity companies in Quebec to merge them with Hydro-Québec. The corporation conducted large-scale hydroelectric projects such as the Manicouagan River and the La Grande River.

Author:  Alexandre Lanoix


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Teacher resources:
Teachers note that there is also a Cartograf scenario entitled “Nationalization of Electricity
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