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Redevelopment of Toronto Power

Designed by renowned architect E.J. Lennox, Toronto Power is a National Historic Site and former hydroelectric power station built on the banks of the upper Niagara River overlooking the iconic Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Built in 1906, Toronto Power supplied electricity for communities across Ontario before ceasing operations in 1974. Since that time, it has sat dormant.

Beginning in the fall of 2021, Niagara Parks launched a three-stage public procurement process to seek private sector investment to redevelop and reimagine the historic Toronto Power Generating Station.

The procurement process has now concluded and Niagara Parks is proud to announce the next steps. Niagara Parks has signed a Letter of Intent with Pearle Hospitality for the redevelopment of Toronto Power.

The Opportunity

Niagara Parks has established four project goals for the redevelopment of Toronto Power:

  1. Restoration of the heritage building (designated National Historic Site)
  2. Creation of a new guest experience that does not exist in Niagara nor Ontario today
  3. Payment of rent to Niagara Parks while covering all restoration and redevelopment costs
  4. Significant capital investment that has an extensive economic impact for Niagara and Ontario
The redevelopment of Toronto Power is the embodiment of Niagara Parks’ mandate in action – preserving a nationally significant heritage building that will grow tourism to Niagara and Ontario while generating new revenue for Niagara Parks as a self-funded organization.

Pearle Hospitality

Niagara Parks’ new tenant and the company managing the site will be Pearle Hospitality. Founded by the Ciancone family in 1936, Pearle Hospitality prides itself on providing guests with genuine and thoughtful experiences.

Pearle Hospitality has a depth of experience transforming heritage properties across Ontario into world-class guest experiences, including:

  • The Elora Mill Hotel and Spa
  • The Cambridge Mill
  • The Ancaster Mill
  • The Pearle Hotel and Spa (Burlington)
  • Whistle Bear Golf Course (Cambridge)
  • Spencer’s at the Waterfront (Burlington)

“As we work to redevelop the Toronto Power site, we’re looking forward to applying the best practices we’ve learned through our history of building, redeveloping and operating distinctive and world-class destination properties across Ontario”
- Brian McMullan, Director of Business Development and Spokesperson for Pearle Hospitality

Case Study: Niagara Parks Power Station

In 2021, with support from the Government of Ontario, Niagara Parks opened the fully restored Niagara Parks Power Station and Tunnel, Niagara’s newest must-see attraction.

The Proposal

This will be a transformational $200+ million private sector investment that will fully restore Toronto Power and establish it as a world-class visitor experience that is unlike anything currently offered in the destination or the province.

The redevelopment plans include:

  • Niagara Falls’ first and only five-star boutique accommodation
  • A variety of culinary offerings
  • Craft brewery
  • Wellness and social spa
  • Event and programming space
  • Museum and Art Gallery
  • Theatre
  • Educational programming
  • And more
“The energy of the place is undeniable and the stories of innovation and invention should be honoured. We are grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the Toronto Power Station’s future story and legacy and hope to make our fellow Canadians proud.”
– Pearle Hospitality

The Investment

This $200+ million redevelopment project will be funded entirely by private sector investment. Niagara Parks will not be investing any capital into this project but will continue as a strategic partner through the redevelopment and future operations.

A long-term lease agreement and rent payment structure will be negotiated, similar to other arrangements Niagara Parks currently holds with Niagara City Cruises who operate the Boat Tour and Niagara Adventure Excursions who operate the Zipline to the Falls and the Whirlpool Adventure Course.

Economic Impact to Niagara and to Ontario

  • Upfront private capital investment of $200+ million for the restoration and redevelopment of the station
  • Attraction of a new tourism market to Niagara Parks, Niagara Falls, the Niagara region, and Ontario
  • Estimations for the first nine years (four years of construction and first five years of operations):
    1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) impact: $300 million
    2. Employment: 9,531 jobs created (1,059 per annum)
    3. Taxes to all three levels of government: $98 million
“This transformational investment will elevate the entire destination of Niagara Falls, solidifying its status as a global tourism icon for generations to come.” – April Jeffs, Chair of Niagara Parks Commission

Public Engagement

Niagara Parks has signed a letter of intent with Pearle Hospitality to restore and redevelop the historic Toronto Power Generating Station.  The letter of intent has started a 120-day due diligence phase, which includes various studies and assessments, including public consultation.

Over the last century, Toronto Power has become a part of the cultural landscape in Niagara Falls. It represents a piece of our shared history, which is why we want to hear from you.Niagara Parks invites you to share your thoughts about the exciting future and legacy of Toronto Power.

Please take a moment and complete the survey below and be part of this transformational redevelopment project.

Survey will be available through to February 29, 2024

The Timeline 

  • 1974 – Toronto Power ceased operations.
  • 2007 – Niagara Parks accepted ownership of Toronto Power.
  • 2008 – Niagara Parks received $1 million in grant funding to dismantle and deactivate the power station buildings, while preparing them for potential adaptive reuse in the future.
  • 2016 – Working with +VG Architects (who is part of the current project team), a visioning document was created for the adaptive reuse of the three power stations.
  • 2018 – Niagara Parks established the Queen Victoria Park Master Plan that would guide and inform any future redevelopment of this key tourism area from Kingsbridge Park to the Rainbow Bridge.
  • Fall 2021 – Niagara Parks launched a comprehensive, three-stage procurement process, beginning with a Request for Information. The entire process was reviewed by a fairness monitor, in addition to legal services provided by Fasken and financial advisory services by Ernst & Young LLP.
  • Spring 2022 – the Request for Qualifications stage began.
  • Fall 2022 – the final Request for Proposals stage began.
  • Fall 2023 – Following an internal evaluation stage and presentation to the Niagara Parks Board of Commissioners, Niagara Parks approved the signing of a Letter of Intent with the preferred proponent, Pearle Hospitality.

The Timeline

  • 1974

    Toronto Power ceased operations.

  • 2007

    Niagara Parks accepted ownership of Toronto Power.

  • 2008

    Niagara Parks received $1 million in grant funding to dismantle and deactivate the power station buildings, while preparing them for potential adaptive reuse in the future.

  • 2016

    Working with +VG Architects (who is part of the current project team), a visioning document was created for the adaptive reuse of the three power stations.

  • 2018

    Niagara Parks established the Queen Victoria Park Master Plan that would guide and inform any future redevelopment of this key tourism area from Kingsbridge Park to the Rainbow Bridge.

  • Fall 2021

    Niagara Parks launched a comprehensive, three-stage procurement process, beginning with a Request for Information. The entire process was reviewed by a fairness monitor, in addition to legal services provided by Fasken and financial advisory services by Ernst & Young LLP.

  • Spring 2022

    The Request for Qualifications stage began.

  • Fall 2022

    The final Request for Proposals stage began.

  • Fall 2023

    Following an internal evaluation stage and presentation to the Niagara Parks Board of Commissioners, Niagara Parks approved the signing of a Letter of Intent with the preferred proponent, Pearle Hospitality.

Next Steps

The signing of the Letter of Intent officially begins the 120-day due diligence phase that includes:

  • Heritage Studies (Heritage Impact Assessment, Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report, Strategic Conservation Plan)
  • Environmental assessment
  • Archaeology assessment
  • Consultations
  • Contract negotiations