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2007 02 07
Angle of Incident #41: Seminar 3 “Elemental Thunder” Part B
Johnathan Wong’s presentation, Toronto Power House, was first. Here, “H” was for heroic—and, presumably, for “hydro.”


Name: Toronto Power Generating Station
Architect: Edward James Lennox (1854-1933)
Completed: 1904-1912
Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario
Closed: 1973
Owner: Ontario Power Generation & Niagara Parks Commission
Power Generated: 134,000 KVA
Current Status: Decommissioned (renovation Spring 2007)
Wheel Pit: 22 ft wide, 158 ft deep
Tail-race: 2,000 ft long


A lesser known building by E.J. Lennox, architect of such Toronto landmarks as Casa Loma and Old City Hall, the TPGS was amongst the earliest hydroelectric power stations to produce two-phase alternating current in the world. Called by Pierre Berton “the high point of industrial architecture in North America” for its grand Italianate exterior (84), for over thirty years it has lain more or less dormant—a slumbering stone garbed giant on the banks of the Niagara River just upstream the Horseshoe Falls. Major renovations started in 2006, which includes the removal of electrical and mechanical equipment, sealing of multiple portals, and backfilling of the inner forebay. Future use for the building is still to be determined.


“The real interest of Niagara for me was not in the waterfall, but in the human accumulations about it. They stood for the future, threats and promises, and the waterfall was just a vast reiteration of falling water. The note of growth in human accomplishment rose clear and triumphant above the elemental thunder.” (H.G.Wells, c1906)

Berton, Pierre. A Picture Book of Niagara Falls, Toronto: M&S, 1993.
Cline, Carl Gordon. History of the Hydro-electric Development at Niagara. http://www.rootsweb.com/~onniagar/history/hydro-history.pdf
[1,3,4] Historic Niagara Digital Collections:
Access Niagara blog: http://www.accessniagara.com/blog/index.php/2006/08/01/power-station-gearing-up-for-new-life-rediscovering-niagara/
Vanishing Point: http://www.vanishingpoint.ca/powergeneration.html
Peter Kiewit: http://www.kiewit.qc.ca/index.asp?CODE=EN&Front=Est
E.J. Lennox:
Ontario Power Generation: http://www.opg.com/index.asp
[2] Author’s blog: http://revisioncloud.blogspot.com
[email this story] Posted by Gary Michael Dault on 02/07 at 03:04 PM

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