Ten Exciting Things That You Might Not Know About Chaudière Falls

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Chaudiere Falls Generating Station

Ten Exciting Things That You Might Not Know About Chaudière Falls

At the end of a long day, you sit down, turn on some lights and perhaps flick on the television. In these actions lie the expectation that everything will work the way that it should – simply put, that your lights and devices power on. Taking a closer look at this casual scene, you have to admit it’s pretty remarkable that we can so easily plug in to power sources at home, work and countless other places around the city. Where does it come from? How is it generated? In Ottawa, Chaudière Falls is a stunning landmark that’s home to several hydroelectric generating stations that help power the province.

Here are ten exciting facts you might not know about the falls:


  1. The Story Behind the Name
    The cauldron-like shape of the original falls combined with the spray rising from the churning water inspired the Algonquin First Nation to name the falls “Akikok” (which translates to “boiler” or “cauldron”). It was that original name that led early French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, to call it “Chaudière”.
  2. The Falls Are How Big?
    Part of the grandeur of the falls is its sheer size. The falls are about 200 feet (60 meters) wide and drop 49 feet (15 meters).
  3. They Have Sacred Roots
    Chaudière Falls is considered a sacred place for the Algonquin Anishinaabe and other First Nations.
  4. An Energizer of the Industrial Boom
    Chaudière Falls provided water power for the lumber mills and factories that once occupied the shoreline of the Ottawa River during the industrial boom of the mid-1800s.
  5. Home of the Oldest Run-of-the-River Hydroelectric Generator
    Generating Station No. 2, on nearby Victoria Island, is Canada’s oldest run-of-the-river hydroelectric generator. A great place to view this generator in action is from the Mill Street Brewery on Wellington St.
  6. Producer of Clean Energy
    Chaudière Falls is home to six run-of-the-river hydroelectric facilities. These facilities harness the natural potential energy of water, producing cleaner power and eliminating carbon dioxide and methane emissions.
  7. Powering Thousands of Homes
    The electricity generated from the falls is enough to power 20,000 homes and reduces greenhouse gases by 115,000 tonnes each year (compared to conventional hydroelectric dams).
  8. Monitored 24/7
    Ever since the Ring Dam at Chaudiere Falls went into service in the early 1900s, it has been staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  9. Supports Species Revival
    The station has a bypass system and an eel ladder to help endangered American eels migrate up and down the Ottawa River safely. To learn more, check out our blog!
  10. There’s an App for That!
    We’re proud to say that there’s a free mobile app for Chaudière Falls. Use it to see historical photos, videos and more! You can download the Android app here and the iTunes app here!
4 Turbines of Chaudiere Falls Generating Station

On top of all of this, you can actually visit this stunning facility and see these features for yourself! For details, check out the Chaudière Falls website.

We hope these fun facts help fuel your excitement, and impress friends and family as you plan your visit!

Anas Kaadan