Sir Adam Beck Generating Station Number 1

In 1917 the Ontario Legislature passed an act which would allow for construction of a state of the art hydro-electric generating station to be constructed in Queenston. Beck was the driving force behind this enormous project. The proposed project would take the water from the upper Niagara River and divert it to a powerhouse along the top of the gorge. This would allow Beck to harness the full power potential of the mighty Niagara.

On New Years day in 1917 the construction of the power plant was approved, and constructions soon began in May of that year. The project would take four and half years to complete. When work began the project ran into difficulties due to the wartime shortage of men and supplies. They also ran into excavation difficulties, the digging of the proposed hydro canal was much more difficult than originally anticipated. It was 12.5 miles long and had to flow downhill, however part of the course flowed uphill from Chippawa to Queenston.  The Welland River had to be deepened and widened to reverse the natural direction of the flow and allow for the downhill flow.

The powerhouse was an immense structure that would rival any commercial building in the British Empire. It was 590 feet long and 180 feet high and 18 stories high. It housed 10 generating units that would each produce 63,000 horsepower, and would produce 403,900 kilowatts of electricity.

Water was first let into the canal on the 24th of December in in1921 to test the unit. Three days later the Sir Adam Beck-Niagara Generating Station was officially opened.