On the south shore of Montreal, on highway 30, just east of the 20, there is a hidden gem called the “Électrium” that not many people seem to know about…

Really, unless you are going there specifically, or out to one of the towns past the 20 (including where I live) you would never see it.

The Électrium is Hydro-Quebec’s “Electricity Interpretation Centre”… It is full of information, experiments and hands on activities about electricity and best of all, it is free! If you have read my blog for while or looked back in the archives you will see that I have already written about it, but another visit, warrants another post.

Last Friday the boys and I headed to Montreal for Wilhelmina’s Dr. Appointment… (btw… everything is looking good!!!) On the way back I went to the Atwater market to get some veggies and food for the week and then on the ride back home I decided to stop at the Électrium on a whim. Each time we had passed by the boys would talk about it but it was never a good time, so this time it was perfect and they got so excited when I took the exit.When we arrived, there was no else there.

We were met at the door by one of the guides and she asked if we wanted to just go around by ourselves or if we wanted the guided tour… The last time we were there we were with a french homeschooling group, so even though the kids understand french, it takes a bit more effort and were not able to really listen and follow. Of course, it was also more than 2 years ago so the age difference adds much more to comprehension also. So I said that it would be fun to have an english guided tour. We were asked to wait for a minutes in the unlikely event that others that wanted to follow an English tour may arrive, but no one did so we started…

(Waiting for the tour to start)

Waiting for the tour to start

The first part of the tour is watching a series of clips on electricity made by the NFB.

Movie starting... 

They only showed the ones on electricity but the whole set can be watched here… (they are really fun to watch!!!)



After the watching the clips we were led into the next room which is about safety. The guide was great and really engaged the kids… even Willa was interested… well… somewhat…

learning about safety

Because it was just us and the guide, the boys were able to ask as many questions as they wanted and the guide was great at answering them. He was also very passionate about his job and about what he was talking about which made it so much more interesting and informative.

After learning about safety, it was the section on electricity in nature. Our own nervous system, our reflexes, the brain, heart etc… and of course, on of the highlights of the show is the electric eel (did you know that it is actually not an eel but a knifefish?). A blue panel next to the tank has lights that light up when the eel becomes electrified. Pretty cool of you ask me…

Electric Eel lights powered by the eel

The next section is about static electricity and starts with a small film on the Aurora Borealis/Australis and lightening… both natural reactions of static electricity…

(making balls move though glass using static electricity)

discovering static electricty

This is of course a favourite section for all because static electricity means playing with the Plasma ball and the Van de Graaff Generator.

(Wilhelmina loved the Plasma Ball)

Willa's turn

(Van de Graaff Generator)




The last section is on magnetism and generating electricity. The boys listed and took in as much as they could but soon started getting restless… they last about 90 min before this so it was actually pretty impressive!

 Listening...Learning about Magnets

Since we were getting the private tour we were able to cut it short at that point and the guide left us alone so that we could go back to the beginning and the we could play with everything again…

playing with magnets

Again, this is a great, free, hands on place to head with the kids… If you are in Montreal it is worth the short ride and will make for a great outing. They do ask for people to call ahead to not be at the same time as a group, it is a small place so if a school group is there, it will be cramped and not much fun but if it a lazy day, like on the day we went, it is a great way to spend a few hours…

the boys in front of the turbine