Canadian Niagara Power Station
Canadian Niagara Power Station
On July 1st, 2021, a new landmark attraction will open just south of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Parks. By day, visitors can explore the preserved interior of the historic power station, transformed with new exhibits and guest amenities, while each night, an immersive sound & light experience brings the building to life through state-of-the-art projection mapping technology.
The first major power plant on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the Canadian Niagara Power Station was completed in 1905 to produce hydroelectricity by leveraging the power of the Niagara River. Beyond its stunning architectural features and landscape design, the power station was one of the first in the world to undertake a major tunnel project, with water entering through the forebay and dropping 180 feet before being expelled into a 2,000 foot tunnel that emptied into the lower Niagara River, right at the base of the Horseshoe Falls.
A marvel of engineering and architecture, the station’s generators were the largest of their kind, followed shortly after by those at the Toronto Power Generating Station located a short distance south. In its operation, power generated from the Canadian Niagara Power Station was used to service Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York, and the plant remained in operation until 2006 when it was decommissioned. The Niagara Parks Commission acquired ownership in 2009.
Adaptive Reuse Construction
Renovations for adaptive reuse are underway to transform the preserved decommissioned facility into an extraordinary new multi-faceted visitor experience, which preserves and showcases this culturally significant landmark, while creating an iconic new attraction for Niagara Falls.
Forrec, one of the world’s leading experiential design firms led the development of the overall site concept and master plan for the project. The Toronto based company boasts an impressive portfolio of past work, designing iconic and memorable live entertainment experiences for many of the world’s top brands and tourism destinations including Universal Studios, Canada’s Wonderland and the Royal Ontario Museum.
A New Landmark Attraction
The full adaptive reuse plan for the Canadian Niagara Power Station will unfold in two phases, construction of Phase One is now well underway with significant work to the building’s exterior forebay along with initial preparatory renovations to the interior ground level.
In transforming a century old power station into a new attraction with modern amenities, a careful balance has been achieved between preserving the historical authenticity of the building, while also providing a safe and accessible visitor experience. Guests will see the heritage of the facility incorporated throughout the building with artifacts repurposed throughout the new retail and culinary areas. The main generator floor has remained largely untouched, with the exception of new exhibits and interpretive panel installations bringing the incredible history of the facility.
Exploring the Generator Floor
Years of work have gone into meticulously documenting and preserving the hundreds of unique artifacts present throughout the plant. In consultation with former power station employees and industry experts, a comprehensive interpretive guest experience has been developed for daytime visitors to the plant, consisting of both physical displays seamlessly woven throughout the building, along with exclusive digital content accessed through visitor’s smartphones.
Science North, a sister agency to Niagara Parks in the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, will deliver three interactive educational experiences for guests; Follow the Flow, a scale model of the building that will provide guests with an in-depth understanding on the incredible scale and operations of the building, Experience the Rush, a full-scale penstock which guests will experience first-hand the power of how this water was harnessed to generate electricity; and Take Control, a hands-on experience where sounds and illusions are controlled by guests who can interact with the century-old buttons and levers.
Immersive Sound and Light Experience
Renowned Montreal based design and production firm Thinkwell is leading the design and creation of an immersive sound and light multimedia experience which utilizes 3D projection mapping to bring the building to life for visitors each night, while highlighting both its remarkable history and unique architectural features.
The immersive experience uses the century old facility as a canvas for telling the story of the transformation of water to electricity. Guests will flow through the space, playing with reactive media that makes the whole space alive as they are surrounded by animated, ever-changing media.
Phase Two: Opening July, 2022
Phase two of the adaptive reuse project will invite visitors to explore the vast underground portions of Canadian Niagara Power Station as they travel down nearly 200 feet below the main floor via glass enclosed elevator, to reach the tailrace tunnel which connects the plant to the Niagara River. Visitors will make their way through the enormous, century old tunnel to emerge beside the base of the Horseshoe Falls.
Doors Open Event
In October 2019, Niagara Parks, in partnership with the Ontario Heritage Trust, hosted a sold-out public event at the Canadian Niagara Power Station as part of the province-wide Doors Open Ontario program. 3,200 free tickets for self-guided tours sold out in less than an hour. The overwhelming enthusiasm and interest garnered by the event was an important factor in Niagara Parks decision to move forward confidently with the adaptive reuse project.
Niagara Parks Announces investment in new attraction: Redevelopment and Adaptive Reuse of Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station
Project will transform the historic Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station into a landmark attraction and multi-use visitor space Attraction to...Read More