Canada’s Power

Canada was much slower in the implementation of hydro-electric power. In 1885 the Ontario Government had legislated that the land adjacent to the Niagara River would be designated as parkland for all individuals to enjoy, and The Niagara Parks Commission was created to carry out this noble cause. However, the expense of this project would prove much greater than initially anticipated and the Niagara Parks Commission soon began selling long-term leases of water rights at the Canadian Falls to American companies to raise the necessary funds.

In 1892 a franchise was granted to an American company to build and operate an electric railway that would run between Queenston and Chippawa. A 2,100 horsepower generating plant was built in 1892 up the river from the Table Rock site, which can still be seen today. This would prove to be the first hydro-electric power project in Niagara Falls Canada. The railway was used as scenic ride for tourists to admire Niagara’s beauty, and it ran until 1932.

Canadian Niagara Power Company & the William Birch Rankie Power Station

Seeing the great potential of bringing hydro-electricity to Canada an American company named the Canadian Niagara Power Company applied for a franchise to develop electric power in Canada in 1892. They were granted a 20-year contract, and construction soon began on a hydro-electric plant which was located above the Horseshoe Falls on Cedar Island. Named the William Birch Rankie Power Station, the station began producing electricity on January 1st, 1905. The power station had two 10,000 horsepower generators which were the largest machines built up to that time. Construction of the station was completed in 1827. The Rankie Power Station was in operation until 2001 when the Sir Adam Beck Hydro-Electric Power Generating Station took over the production of power from the Rankie Power Station. Currently the Rankie Station is idle; however, there is still staff that ensures the station is maintained in the event that emergency power is needed.