The striking blue turbines inside Rankine
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We are introducing a brand new series of Photo Essays! Have a look at amazing Photo Sets all shot by talented photographers. Explore the vibe of the city, its hidden treasures, meet the Torontonians! This time, let's have a look at Toronto through the lens of Jonathan Castellino!
Niagara River as seen from the station
Ontario Hydroelectric Stations
Only a limited number of people are able to gain access to the premises, and after stepping inside, they often are awestruck by the beauty of large turbine rooms spiralling into the depths or the conference rooms where the heads of the company once laid out their plans.
One has the urge to make it possible for these beautiful and once glorious landmarks to open their doors again. Otherwise, they will be left alone, slowly falling apart.
William Birch Rankine Hydroelectric Station
One of the oldest power stations, work on the Canadian Niagara Power Station began in 1897. This magnificent plant sitting close to the Niagara Falls was decommissioned by the Canadian Niagara Power Company near the end of 2005. It’s hard to understand this move, considering the fact that one of the most powerful bodies of water is only so close. The large building is slowly falling apart but is still able to create a strong feeling of admiration for its size and industrial beauty, but at the same time one feels regret that its turbines are no longer turning. The station is one of the three turbine stations that were built along the falls to generate electric power in Ontario.
If you’ve been to Niagara Falls and viewed them from the Maid of the Mist or from the American side, you may have noticed the gaping concrete portal off the Horseshoe Falls. It’s actually the end of a 2,200-foot tunnel where the tailwater from the station entered the river.
The insides of Rankine still keep their former grandeur
Machine room that was in charge of it all.
Conference room where once all the important decisions were made.
A walk into the past
Ontario Power Company Plant
The Ontario Power Company opened this hydro-electric plant in 1905 just above the Horseshoe Falls, generating electric power with fifteen massive generators. Another plant that had to make room for tourism, this massive complex was shut down in 1999 to enable the construction of Casino Niagara. Unlike the Rankine Station, time has made its mark and a lot of equipment was removed or fell apart, leaving enormously spacious but hollow spaces.
Hollowed Ontario Power Company
The station is one out of 3 built along Niagara Falls
You can still see where the 15 generators were once sitting.
Unexpected beauty in a place that slowly falls apart
Meet the Photographer
Jonathan Castellino is a hobby urban archaeologist and photographer based in the city of Toronto. His photographs document the intersection of built environment and cultural landscape as it speaks to the social imagination. While focusing primarily on contemporary urban ruins, his work also tends to take a broader perspective, examining the place and meaning of these spaces in urban life.