Manic-5, September 30, 2019

Press Release

Daniel-Johnson dam: 50th anniversary of an iconic symbol of modern Québec

Daniel-Johnson dam is celebrating its 50th anniversary today. The dam symbolizes Québec’s entry into modern times and is an iconic symbol of hydropower throughout the world.

“The construction of Daniel-Johnson dam is one of Québec’s greatest industrial feats. Hydro-Québec’s reputation as a world leader in hydropower generation and distribution is thanks to the boldness of such a monumental project and the Québec government’s keen vision for this resource in our economic development,” said Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien.

 “The jobsite and its numerous technical achievements earned Québec engineering recognition on the international stage. We can be proud that, 50 years later, the dam and the generating stations of Manic-5 continue to help supply Québec and northeastern North America with clean energy,” added Éric Martel, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec.

The dam was named after Daniel Johnson Sr., who launched the construction work in 1959 when he was Minister of Water Resources. Mr. Johnson, who subsequently became the Premier of Québec, passed away during the night before the official inauguration on September 26, 1968. The event finally took place one year later and the dam has borne his name ever since.

A legacy of the past

A monument symbolizing the collective memory was unveiled to mark the dam’s 50th anniversary. Jonatan Julien, Éric Martel, Pierre Marc Johnson, Marcel Furlong (Prefect of the MRC of Manicouagan), along with one current and one retired Hydro-Québec employee each left their handprint in a concrete block that will be placed on the site.

A few interesting facts about Daniel-Johnson dam and Manic-5 and Manic-5-PA generating stations:

  • Daniel-Johnson dam is the world’s highest multiple-arch-and-buttress dam.
  • The dam has 2.2 million cubic metres of concrete—enough to build a sidewalk between the North and South Poles.
  • Since they were commissioned, Manic-5 and Manic-5-PA generating stations have generated 322 TWh of electricity, which is more than the amount used by the United Kingdom and its 65 million inhabitants in a single year.
  • Montréal’s Olympic Stadium tower or Place Ville-Marie building could fit within the dam’s main arch.
  • At the time, construction of the dam represented the largest worksite in North America—with a total of 12,900 employees.
  • Manicouagan reservoir covers 1,950 km2 and contains 142,000 m3 of water—more than the volume of the Dead Sea (114,000 m3).
  • The reservoir can hold 13 times the volume of water in Lac Saint-Jean.
  • Daniel-Johnson dam and Manic-5 and Manic-5-PA generating stations have also surfaced in novels and popular culture:
    • A novel in the Bob Morane series, Terreur à la Manicouagan, published in 1965, was partially set in the area.  
    • The highly successful song “La Manic” was composed in 1966 by Georges Dor.
    • Construction of the dam was filmed and streamed live at Expo 67.
    • A sports car called Manic GT was built in Terrebonne and then in Granby between 1969 and 1971.
    • The Montréal Manic played in the North American Soccer League from 1981 to 1983.


514 289-5005
418 294-3777

Top of page