On May 25th, 2012 we took the train to Shawinigan for the day. It was part of the McGill Community for Lifelong Learning seminar on trains of Northeastern Quebec. It was a pleasant 2 1/2 hour train ride north through Montreal and then along the north shore of the St Lawrence, past lots of forests and farms. The Cité de l'electricité staff met us with this streetcar and took us to their information island for a very nice box lunch.
We were given a brief history of the city. It was founded and planned well before the people arrived with the idea that the falls were a great source of electricity for pulp and paper industries and also chemical and textile. For half a century it was a boom town with a hiccup during the depression. Companies then found better situated places to operate with new technologies and the city began to decline. One of the major employers now is the Canadian Tax Revenue department.
We went to the main Hydro property and were toured around this old building from the early 1900's which had been used as the hydro plant at the time. Inside we looked at lots of old machinery and walked through the defunct penstocks.
Ruins! Leftover from the days that penstocks roamed the area.