Petty Harbour Generating Station

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Petty Harbour Generating Station

The Petty Harbour Hydro Electric Generating Station which began construction in 1898 was the first hydroelectric generating station in Newfoundland and Labrador.[1] It was built by the St. John's Street Railway Company, a company established by Robert Reid. Operation commenced on 19 April 1900. In 1920 Reid renamed the company the St. John's Light and Power Company. On 7 February 1921 an avalanche destroyed 23 m (75 ft) of the wooden penstock that carried water from the dam to the generating station, cutting off all electrical power to St. John's for almost five days.[2] Then in 1924 the plant changed ownership to the Royal Securities Corporation of Montreal where they began extensive reconstruction of the plant and watershed area.

Gull Hill intake on Petty Harbour station

On 1 May 1978 the plant was entered in the Canadian Engineering Heritage Record as a model reflecting progressive adaptation to emerging technology, and remains today[when?] as one of the few plants of its type still in active service.

Front of generating station at Petty Harbour

Some interesting facts on the generating station:

  • 3,200 ft (975 m) of woodstave penstock
  • 350 ft (107 m) of tunnel blasted through Gull Hill
  • 180 ft (55 m) of steel penstock
  • 500 V, original Westinghouse generator
  • 2,100 horsepower (1.6 MW) Voith turbines installed in 1908

Coordinates: 47°27′54.99″N 52°42′44.78″W / 47.4652750°N 52.7124389°W / 47.4652750; -52.7124389


  1. ^ McBride, Michelle. "Hydro Development in Newfoundland and Labrador". Memorial University of Newfoundland. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  2. ^ "Petty Harbour Hydro-Electric Generating Station". Canada's Historic Places, Administered by Parks Canada. Retrieved 2011-04-11.