Toronto Power Generating Station

  • Year Built: 1906
  • Year Closed: 1974

This was by far the most beautiful abandoned building I've visited.

Unlike other large industrial buildings, this was no large homogenous box. This had a sense of design — an architectural vision.

Opened in 1906, this hydro-electric power station was designed by Toronto architect E.J. Lennox and sits on the banks of the Niagara River, just up from Niagara Falls.

The station was built for the Electrical Development Company of Ontario to supply 25-cycle power to Toronto. Construction began in 1903 and it operated from 1906 until 1974. In 1983 it was designated as a national historic site in Canada.

For its time, it represented a milestone in engineering and technology. Hydro-electric power — at this scale — was a significant industrial accomplishment. This explains why the building itself was designed as a tourist landmark.

Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, it featured gorgeous tiled mosaic floors, polished copper railings and a palatial facade. From the exterior you'd never guess this was a power station.

Today, the site has the ridiculously long official name The Electrical Development Company and Powerhouse National Historic Site of Canada. Ownership was transferred to the Niagara Parks Commission in 2007 and the site is being assessed to explore re-use options in the future.

Morton's Grille

Niagara Falls is home to a number of casinos. One of the main downtown casinos has a restaurant attached to it: Morton's Grille. During the design phase, I was contacted for providing photography to be used inside the restaurant.

Restaurant booth and table with wine glasses, with two large photographs of the power station framed and hung on the wall.

As of 2017, a number of my Toronto Power Company photos are framed and hung inside the restaurant.

Niagara Falls Public Library

Some of these photos have also been added to the Niagara Falls Public Library Digital Collections, which includes a variety of documents relating to the hydro-electric power stations built in this area at the beginning of the 1900s.

This is a great resource with documents and images that were produced at the time of original construction (as well as photos taken later). You'll find postcards that celebrated the technological achievements of the stations themselves, and photos documenting the construction process.

It's well worth the visit if you're interested in the history of hydro-electric power at Niagara Falls.