OPG’s Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre Caps Summer of Fun and EducationDecember 14, 2022
Cornwall Ontario – After having its doors closed for more than two years due to the pandemic, OPG’s Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre welcomed more than 4,800 guests after re-opening to the public this summer.
A staple of the Cornwall community for many years, the visitor centre featured a diverse range of fun and free programming from June 1 to Sept. 30, as well as interactive exhibits and information on the development of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project in the 1950s.This summer, the visitor centre hosted 13 events that offered something for everyone to enjoy, from science and technology, to environmental research, to the local and Indigenous history of the area.
“We were thrilled to welcome the community back to our visitor centre after taking a long pause due to the pandemic,” said Mike Woodcock, Senior Manager of OPG’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station. “Special thanks goes out to our many community partners, who helped educate and entertain thousands of visitors this summer. We look forward to another great season next summer.”
Central to the visitor centre is telling the story of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century. The Canada-U.S. initiative opened up the St. Lawrence River to international shipping as well as established the sprawling cross-border Moses-Saunders Hydro Dam for hydroelectric power generation in Ontario and New York.
OPG owns and operates the 16-unit, 1,045-megawatt R.H. Saunders GS on the Canadian side of the border.
The visitor centre details the history of this impressive project, as well as the impacts on Indigenous and local communities, whose lands were flooded to make the project a reality.
Delving into this history this past summer were members of the Lost Villages Historical Society, who provided a virtual tour as well as stories of some of the villages and hamlets lost to the inundation.
Members of the Mohawks of Akwesasne community also partnered with OPG to host events, including a workshop delving into the process of creating beautiful handmade baskets, which was hosted by Mohawk Made. Other events included Mohawk children’s storytelling and an informative event on the meaning behind traditional songs and dances, which were both presented by the Native North American Travelling College in Akwesasne.
Meanwhile, partners like the River Institute and Earth Rangers offered visitors a chance to take a deeper dive to discover the fish and other species living in the St. Lawrence River as well as learn about animals, biodiversity, and science.
In addition to the centre’s regular guests, the visitor centre hosted a number of other community events, including youth summer camps.
With a successful tourism season now in the books, the Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre is busy preparing for the 2023 season and a new exterior look thanks to a long-term, sustainable landscape plan. By next spring, the grounds around the visitor centre are set to feature a new trail, diverse Indigenous-inspired gardens, an overlook shelter, and a medicinal herb garden with drying shed.
While the centre is now closed to the public, educational tours and meetings can be booked through firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the centre and upcoming events, visit OPG.com/eastern.
OPG is featured in the 2022 Year in Review report by Cornwall Economic Development.