The Hydro Castle is a great experience and a great architectural marvel that is unique within eastern Canada. If you are a history buff or just love the outdoors this site is all encompassing. The site is surrounded by a fence line with no trespassing signs posted. Due to the close proximity of the fence line to the Hydro Castle, viewing is made easy and that much more fun to explore. Historical plaques describing the rich local history are located near the Castle. The grass is cut and the property is maintained making it a perfect spot for a picnic or family outing.
The property has two buildings on site. The first being the Hydro Castle and the other being a medium sized storage barn. The Castle windows and doors are boarded up due to the ongoing vandalism. This site should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. If you do end up visiting this location, only leave footprints behind.
The following historical information was written by Shim Farm at shimfarm.blogspot.com.
“One of the most interesting landmarks along the old Soulanges canal in Quebec is the "Petit Pouvoir" hydro power station in Les Cèdres. The building above served to power the lights and locks along the now-decommissioned 23 kilometres (14 miles) of the Soulanges canal. The Soulanges canal became obsolete with the opening of the Saint-Lawrence seaway in 1959.
Designed by engineer Thomas Monro, and built in 1899, the "Petit Pouvoir" produced 528 kilowatts using 2 turbines, and permitted the locks to be operational 24 hours a day. Of 87 hydroelectric plants built before 1900, the Cedars central is only one of 4 buildings still left standing today.
The building is modeled on the "Château" style of architecture, and some famous Canadian Pacific hotels were built in this fashion, such as the Château Frontenac in Quebec City with its iconic turrets.
The old Soulanges canal is no longer open to maritime traffic, as the locks are now non-operational. Various organizations talk about opening the locks to pleasure craft, but considerable investment is required to build bridges, overpasses, and replace rotting infrastructure. In 2008, an estimated 160 million was needed to oversee this project. Needless to say, with government budget cuts, we can't hope for capital investments like this, even if the return on investment would be many-fold. We have a talent of subsidizing a variety of businesses that fail after millions of dollars in government investments, yet we are incapable of vision when it comes to saving our history for future generations.”