The Youville Pumping Station
The Youville Pumping Station, at 173 Place d'Youville, was Montréal’s first electrically powered wastewater pumping station. The building, now converted into an interpretation centre, dates from 1915 and showcases some ingenious artifacts that are nearly a century old. Carefully preserved motors, pumps, valves and electrical equipment are now used to explain the role and operation of the station. It takes history to a whole new “level”!
The station was originally designed by English engineer Stuart Howard. With its Victorian façade and lovely Scottish brick, it represented a great step forward in the city’s technological and civic development in the early 20th century. The building has a number of distinguishing features. First of all, the system for controlling water carried in the collector sewer plunges deep underground, more than two storeys below street level! The underground part of the building is accessible to visitors, giving them a clear view of the pumping and control mechanisms for the water that once flowed through the sewer.
What does a pumping station do?
The station was originally built to lift the wastewater collected in Old Montréal (in the collector sewer laid in the bed of the Little Saint-Pierre River) by more than six metres, so that it would then flow by gravity into another collector, one kilometre away, on Craig (now Saint-Antoine) Street. The station was known as a “lift station” in view of its primary purpose, and was in operation until 1990, when all the wastewater from Old Montréal and Cité du Havre was diverted to the south interceptor of the Montréal Urban Community’s wastewater treatment plant.
Visit this historic station and go where few people have ever ventured before!
Visits available for groups (minimum 15), by reservation only.