Episode 24: Ontario Power Gate House

March 27th, 2011Posted by admin

Today the Ontario Power Gate House sits silently next to the Niagara Parkway, fenced away from the tourists visiting the great cataract, a silent monument to Niagara’s hydroelectric history. It once regulated the flow of water to the first major Alternating Current power generator on the Canadian side of the river.

Black & white scan from book The development of the Ontario Power Company, written by P. N. Nunn ; published in 1905 by the Ontario Power Company of Niagara FallsThe gate house was commissioned in 1905. Its stately walls sit atop three 6 meter diameter conduits, two of steel and a third fashioned from wood, bound in iron hoops and encased in cement. These conduits carried water which had collected in forebays underground nearly two kilometers to the generating station at the brink of the falls. At this station, which sits atop a cliff opposite to Goat Island, the water fell through penstocks tunneled through the rock to turbines at the foot of the falls.

Inside the gate house large square gates sat atop rollers to regulate or cease the flow of water. Furthermore the building housed deicing equipment, including boilers and steam pipes, to prevent freezing in the winter months.

The Ontario Power Station was decommissioned in 1999.