Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station
Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station
The first major power plant on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, CNP was completed in 1905 to produce hydroelectricity by leveraging the power of the Niagara River. Beyond its stunning architectural features and landscape design, CNP was one of the first power stations 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 Landmark Achievement
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 Generating 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.
Harmony in Design
Designed by architect Algernon S. Bell, the Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station is intended to mimic the Niagara Falls Power Company on the U.S. side of the Niagara River. An important example of architectural, engineering, and landscape design working in harmony, it created a unified visual landmark compatible with its remarkable natural park setting atop the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The station was built in the style of H.H. Richardson with a rusticated stone exterior with Queenston limestone and stunning, rounded window arches depicting restrained Romanesque design. The water-filled forecourt is the most prominent feature of the building setting, acting as a reflecting pool that enhances the pattern of the Romanesque stone arches. The interior also features significant detail, from the massive bronze doors on the north side to the marble and bronze detailing of the office area.
The Future of CNP
Renovations for adaptive reuse are underway that will transform the preserved decommissioned facility into an extraordinary new multi-faceted visitor experience, which will preserve and showcase this culturally significant landmark, while creating an iconic new attraction for Niagara Falls. Forrec, one of the world’s leading experiential design firms has been contracted by Niagara Parks to lead the development of the overall site concept and master plan for the CNP 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. Forrec will collaborate with Lord Cultural Resources on the development of the interpretive plan for the site, which will guide the essential storytelling components showcased throughout every aspect of the experience, ensuring they are authentic to the rich history and cultural significance of CNP.
Phase One: Opening July, 2021
The full adaptive reuse plan for CNP will unfold in two phases, the early stages of Phase one are already underway with significant work to the building’s exterior forebay along with initial preparatory renovations to the interior ground level. Phase One of the new attraction will include…
Immersive Sound & Light Experience
Renowned Montreal based design and production firm Thinkwell will lead the design and creation of an immersive sound and light multimedia experience that will utilize 3D projection mapping to bring the building to life for visitors each night, while highlighting both its remarkable history and unique architectural features.
Interactive Exhibits by Science North
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 CNP that will allow guests to follow the flow of water from forebay to turbines with the use of augmented reality, 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 in the original control room where sounds and illusions are controlled by guests who can interact with the century-old buttons and levers.
Phase Two: Opening July, 2022
Phase two of the adaptive reuse project will invite visitors to explore the vast underground portions of CNP 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, brought to life with projection mapping technology 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 CNP 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