NIAGARA FALLS, ONT - 10 stories beneath the raging waters of the Niagara River sits a maze of massive tunnels, each of them 30 feet across. The remnants of the industrial break-through that introduced the world to the power in water.
These tunnels are called tailraces and they are just part of the system of the hydro power generating plants that sit on the Ontario side of Niagara Falls.
The Toronto Power Company building has been idle and vacant for more than 30 years. When it came on line in 1906 it represented the latest technology. It made it possible for someone to turn on (and off) electricity with the push of a button.
Just down river a bit is the Rankine Station of the Canadian Niagara Power Company. This facility is in much better condition and in fact was in use up until last year.
Today the Niagara Parks Commission oversees both facilities and right now is attempting to rehab them and find a suitable reuse.
The Commission is also in the process of sealing off those tailraces because they are becoming unstable and hazardous. Because of their massive size and dramatic image, they have become an attraction for so-called urban explorers. Parks officials say these explorers put themselves at great risk when they go in, so they just want to remove the temptation.
More information on the history of these great facilities and power generation on the Niagara Frontier is available on the Niagara Parks Commission's website.