Canada is a nation of wild, legendary rivers. The Mackenzie, the Fraser, the Churchill, and dozens more all empty into our national identity. They flow through our landscape, history, and imagination. They are vital to any history textbook, Group of Seven exhibit, or gift-shop postcard rack.
Canada is also a nation of river-tamers. We revere our waterways—but we also dam them. Trudeau canoed the epic Nahanni and two years later presided over the opening of the mammoth Churchill Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador. We are, as the Canadian Hydropower Association says, a “hydro superpower.” [PDF] Almost 60 percent of our electricity supply comes from dams—compared to just 16 percent globally—and only China squeezes more electricity out of its rivers than we do.