Southern Canada has a long history often shaped by its unique geography, of which Niagara Falls is a particular example. The powerful river and the massive waterfalls have attracted not only communities and thrill-seekers, but innovators seeking to harness that power for public benefit.
Historians acknowledge that Niagara Falls was the site of the first hydroelectric power plant in the world, designed by Nikola Tesla and completed in 1895. In subsequent years more plants and facilities would be built along the river to provide electricity to nearby towns and cities. The Toronto Power Generating Station is perhaps one of the more visually impressive of these.
Built in 1906
Built in 1906, this station is situated upstream from Niagara Falls, not far from Dufferin Islands. It’s not the sort of building that will show up on a Google Maps search, as it’s been closed since 1974 and is not an official tourist destination.
Recently the Niagara Parks Commission, current owners of the Toronto Power Generating Station, announced that they are planning to attract outside investment to redevelop the building, maintaining the exterior structure while being open to changes inside the building.
Designed in the Beaux-Arts style of architecture, Toronto-based architect E J Lennox came up with a visually imposing structure with Greco-Roman design, popular amongst public building design at the time.
The building itself was the big large-scale venture for the region at the time, at the time the largest (in size) system of pipes and outlet tunnels in the world. While it wasn’t the chief supplier to power in Toronto at the time, its peak output of 132.5 MW was a huge contribution a century ago. The plant stayed productive for decades, and was only rendered obsolete once the Adams facility downstream was upgraded in a massive expansion to take in more water.
These days the plant is still an impressive structure. While its future remains to be determined, this is a piece of history worth visiting.
The Toronto Power Generating Station is located less than a KM from the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa when taking the Niagara Falls Incline Railway. For more information on our hotel, including room upgrades and inclusions, view our: Niagara Falls Hotel Packages