Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | June 23, 2018

R.H. Saunders G.S. – 60th Anniversary

A hydro-electric milestone is being celebrated this year; Cornwall’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station turns 60 on July 8.
Pictured above is an Ontario Hydro photo of the official opening of the site in 1958 prior to the 1959 official opening of the international Seaway to facilitate large ocean-going vessels to access the Great Lakes.
As part of the festivities, today, June 23 2018, about 500 people from Cornwall, Quebec, New York and elsewhere, are being treated to a rare guided tour of select areas of the multi-story structure. It has been ten years since such a tour was possible. Admission is free, but had to be pre-arranged. Guests are being accompanied by a team of staff and volunteers who explain aspects of the operation.
Saunders 60th_promo items_webAt the conclusion of the nearly two-hour tours, guests are offered a bag of souvenir memorabilia and the option to experience the exhibits in the Visitor Centre.
Saunders 60th_booklet_webOther give-away items in the black reusable bags were souvenir booklets
Saunders 60th_token_weband wooden commemorative tokens.
Meanwhile, others, such as these fishermen, are enjoying the river for other reasons.

Having been well-constructed and maintained, some of the 1950’s era hydro-electric equipment is still faithfully performing its job, but others have been replaced by modern technology.

In 2002, the facility completed a ten-year refurbishment of the 16 Canadian turbines, boosting electrical production to 1,045 megawatts from 926 mw, supplying between 4% and 8% of the province’s power needs. In 2011, it completed a $20 million upgrade to its protection and control system, bringing the facility more fully into the electronic/digital age.

The old single-site control room has been replaced with a modern one that controls several generating stations along the St. Lawrence, Ottawa and Madawaska river systems.

After the 9/11 scare, the old visitor centre was shut down and subsequently replaced by the current nearby visitor centre in 2010. The St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre is open each day of the week other than on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. until August 31.

According to a statement on OPG’s website, OPG employs a staff of about 80 people at the station, most of whom live in the Cornwall area.

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