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The Niagara Parks Power Station Is An Electrifying Experience and Recommended Trip

The Niagara Parks Power Station, formerly known as the Canadian Niagara Power Company generating station, was a source of electricity for over a century. 

Built in 1905, the Niagara Parks Power Station was a marvel of engineering and innovation. Designed by the renowned inventor Nikola Tesla, the facility featured a cutting-edge hydroelectric system that harnessed the immense power of Niagara Falls.

The upper level features a display of equipment that was used to power the plant. It also has a showcase of images taken during the building and development of the project.

resistance switches niagara
Jill Caren
alternating current voltage tester niagara
Jill Caren

The power station had eleven generators with vertical steel shafts that drew water into the fore-bay. These generators operated at 25 hertz and were at the power station’s heart. The water was then dropped an impressive 180 feet before being expelled into a 2,200-foot tunnel. 

This tunnel emptied directly into the Lower Niagara River, at the base of the famous Horseshoe Falls, creating a magnificent spectacle.

Deep beneath the Niagara Parks power station lies a remarkable feat of early 20th-century engineering – the Tailrace Tunnel. This 2,200-foot-long tunnel was constructed over four years using nothing but dynamite, pickaxes, and shovels. The workers toiled away by the dim light of lanterns, excavating the tunnel under the Niagara Gorge and Table Rock. 

A glass-backed elevator will take you 180 ft. down to the tunnel. The view out of the back of the elevator shows you all the levels of the tunnel and you can almost imagine how the workers would climb up and down during the tunnels construction.

tunnel under niagara power station
View walking through tunnel / Jill Caren

When the plant was in operation, the tunnel served as the exit point for water used to produce hydropower. Today, it is a popular tourist destination for history buffs.

The tunnel excavation involved numerous workers who relied on steam power and compressed air to complete the task. Water flowed into the tunnel through the draft tubes on the walls and ceiling, and it was transported down a 17-foot slope until it exited the portal and flowed back into the Niagara River. 

The tunnel’s reconstruction began in early 2022. The main focus was to preserve the tunnel’s authenticity as a significant historical landmark. The new visitor experience was designed with adaptive reuse construction.

A brand-new viewing platform was constructed in the spring of 2022. This provides guests with a never-before-seen panoramic view of Niagara Falls. The platform offers spectacular views of Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls.

When you are on the platform you get the most amazing view to the left and right.

niagara park power station viewing tunnel
Looking left on platform / Jill Caren
Looking right on platform to the falls
Looking right on platform / Jill Caren

After the platform viewing, you begin the walk back to the elevator to be taken back above ground. On the way out you can explore more, or exit. But, be sure to check out the wall of wrenches on the way out.

The picture does not reflect how big these wrenches are. It is hard to imagine the strength these workers had to be able to lift these, never mind actually use them.

wall of wrenches niagara
Jill Caren

The power station is located at 7230 Niagara River Parkway in Ontario, Canada. There is parking available or you can take public transit. Depending on your level of historical interest, expect to spend about 1-2 hours there.

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grand canyon engine 4960

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wwII event parade of trucks
Jill Caren Photography

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