Power Stations Redevelopment
Niagara Parks has concluded the third and final phase of a three-stage Call for Proposals process for the adaptive re-use of both the Toronto Power and Ontario Power Generating Stations. The formal evaluation stage is currently underway with an announcement expected to take place this fall, identifying the successful proponent(s).
As part of its Strategic Plan and following the successful adaptive reuse of its newest landmark attraction, the Niagara Parks Power Station, Niagara Parks is seeking private investment to re-imagine these important sites. The call for development proposals offers the opportunity to preserve these important buildings and to create new tourism experiences for Niagara, Ontario and Canada.
Both sites hold extraordinary potential for redevelopment considering their established presence in the core tourism landscape of Niagara Parks and Niagara Falls, striking architectural features and unparalleled locations on the brink of the upper Niagara River and within the lower Niagara Gorge, all in the heart of Queen Victoria Park. The decommissioned power stations were transferred to the Niagara Parks Commission in 2007.
The successful re-development will address:
- The long-term preservation of these architectural and historical sites
- Creation of a sustainable, new guest experience (significant tourism impact through the adaptive re-use) for Niagara Parks, for Niagara Falls and for Ontario that is befitting of the global address that these sites offer
- Opportunity to generate new, sustainable revenue for Niagara Parks
- Overall benefits of the redevelopment of the sites
The Niagara Parks Commission accepted ownership of three former power generation stations, all located within Commission lands – Toronto Power Generating Station (TPGS), Ontario Power Company Generating Station (OPGS), and Canadian Niagara Power Company Generating Station (CNP).
Both TPGS and OPGS were transferred to Niagara Parks in 2007, while CNP was acquired in 2009. The TPGS, a designated National Historic Site for architectural significance and impact on industry, operated from 1906 to 1974. The OPGS, operated from 1906 to 1999. Both facilities are in poor condition and undertaking detailed conditional assessment will be part of the identified proponent’s scope. Previous studies conducted between 1978-2018 will be made available to the proponents during the RFP process.
Toronto Power Generating Station
- TPGS is a globally recognized, historic former hydroelectric power generating station in an unforgettable location – at the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls on the river’s edge.
- Opened in 1906 to supply hydroelectric power to the Toronto market, the palatial powerhouse was designed in an Italian Renaissance architectural style by renowned architect E.J. Lennox who was also responsible for Toronto City Hall and Casa Loma.
- TPGS displays an early and unusual application of Beaux Arts design for an industrial site in Canada.
- Designated a National Historic Site of Canada, listed as a Provincial Heritage Property of Provincial Significance and included on the City of Niagara Falls list of heritage buildings TPGS was the first wholly Canadian-owned hydro-electric facility at Niagara Falls; and the powerhouse is an early and unusual application of Beaux-Arts design to an industrial site in Canada.
- TPGS contributions to the industrial history and development of business, industry and technology in Niagara Ontario and Canada.
- Reflective of the use of underground infrastructure and tunnels in hydroelectric power generation that started in Niagara Falls, TPGS has an tunnel network under the river that empties at the base of the Falls.
- Due to its unique location and striking appearance, TPGS has become a major part of the iconic Niagara Falls landscape.
A Look inside Toronto Power Generating Station
Interior footage of the facility, collected in September 2021.
Ontario Power Company Generating Station
- Opened in 1906, Ontario Power Company Generating Station (OPGS) identified as a Provincially Significant Provincial Heritage Building, was incredibly built right into the rockface at the base of the Niagara River gorge, directly across from the American Falls and 250 metres downstream from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
- OPGS contributed to the industrial and community development in both Canada and the United States which led to the establishment of international protocols for the sharing of water rights between the two countries.
- OPGS was a key part of the overall rapid development of technology and the interrelationships that led to advanced electrical generation and distribution systems in Ontario, such as the use of alternating current which allowed for the transmission of electricity over greater distances. OPGS was a forerunner to modern generating stations and was the first to incorporate automation and safety measures.
- The building remains mostly hidden to the Canadian side but is fully visible to the American side and provides unparalleled views of the American, bridal veil and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
- Adding to its mystique, OPGS is only accessible by a steep driveway along the cliffside of the Gorge.
- OPGS also used three underground shafts and tunnels to supply water, the largest ever built at that time, running from Dufferin Islands above the Falls to the bottom of the Gorge.
- The elegant, long profile of the building was designed to complement the rugged, natural setting and today, the building almost looks as if it is part of the gorge itself.
A Look inside Ontario Power Company Generating Station
Interior footage of the facility, collected in September 2021.
Case Study: Niagara Parks Power Station
The recent successful adaptive reuse of the decommissioned Canadian Niagara Power Company generating station, which opened in 2021 as the Niagara Parks Power Station provides a relevant example and valuable point of reference for potential redevelopment opportunities.
Niagara Parks opened phase one of the new landmark visitor attraction, now called the Niagara Parks Power Station in the summer of 2021, offering guests daytime tours of the building, along with an immersive sight and sound night show.
- Stage One Request for Information (RFI) – November 2021 to January 2022
- Stage Two Request for Qualifications (RFQ) – April to September 2022
- Stage Three Request for Proposals (RFP) – November 2022 to May 2023