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Toronto, Niagara & Western

R.L.Kennedy

First incorporated in 1903 as the Toronto and Hamilton to build an electric railway from Toronto to Hamilton, its name was changed in 1906 to the Toronto, Niagara & Western. It was a proposed electric interurban railway from Niagara Falls to Toronto controlled by MacKenzie and Mann of Canadian Northern fame. It would have shared a right of way with a power transmission line that it could utilize itself.

Entry into Toronto would have been across the Humber River at Lambton parallel to and north of the old Toronto Belt Line to West Toronto (Keele Street just north of St.Clair Avenue West), where it would have dropped into a cut to underpass both the GTRís Stratford line and the CPRís Sudbury line (Mac Tier Sub.) as well as some streets. Just south of St.Clair Avenue it would have entered a 2360 foot long tunnel under the GTRís ex Ontario Simcoe & Huron Railway (Ontarioís first railway) at Davenport and exit at Davenport Road and St.Clarens Avenue. It would then run parallel to and north of the CPR North Toronto Sub. over to North Toronto (Yonge Street). In the end, nothing was built as the Canadian Northern empire crumbled although interestingly enough on March 11, 1919 Canadian National announced it would build the proposed line between Hamilton and Toronto via the Toronto Suburban across the Humber River and to a Joint Section with the CPR to reach a new North Toronto shared station where trains would enter from Ottawa as well. While the station was built it was only ever used by the CPR.

The Hydro right-of-way to the Bridgman Transformer station (built 1904) at 391 Davenport Road near Dupont Street in mid-Toronto was where power was first brought to Toronto from the Electric Development Company in Niagara Falls over a 60,000 volt transmission line to the Toronto Electric Light Company owned in part by none other than Sir Henry Pellatt of Casa Loma fame.

The Toronto Power Company was formed from the consolidation of the Electrical Development Company and the Toronto Electric Light Co. Ltd. in the early 1900s. The Electrical Development Company was formed in 1903 by Mackenzie, Nicholls and Pellat. The purpose was to transmit power from Niagara Falls to Toronto in order to supply the light and streetcar companies. Ontario Hydro purchased the Toronto Power Company in 1921. One source refers to Mackenzie's strategy of consolidating scattered holdings in Ontario under one unified ownership. This process was initiated in 1908 when the Toronto Street Railway assumed ownership, by means of a share transfer, of the Electrical Development Company of Ontario. The consolidation of Toronto's electric utilities continued in 1911 when Mackenzie outbid the city for control of the Toronto Electric Light Co. By late 1911, Mackenzie had forged a group of companies that controlled the generation, distribution and application of electrical energy in Ontario's largest urban market.

The first use in Toronto of publicly-owned "Hydro" electric power generated by water was brought from Niagara Falls over a 110,000 volts transmision line in October of 1910. Prior to this Torontoís electricity was generated by steam. Much street and other lighting was by manufactured gas made by burning coal to produce coke which was sold for home heating.

Sir Henry Pellatt's extravagant expenditure building Casa Loma and the high cost of maintaining it along with other business difficulties in the economic decline following the Great War (WWI) brought about his downfall. His heavy debt to the Home Bank likely brought about its downfall when it closed its doors August 17, 1923. He lost his castle when he couldn't pay the taxes, simply walking away from it. Likewise, MacKenzie and Mann both saw their empire faulter and eventually fail. Canadian Northern ended up being taken over by Canadian National Railways along with other failed railways the federal government was compelled to rescue. MacKenzie's Toronto Railway Company was put out of business by the City of Toronto which wanted to own the street railway operations. Pellatt's Toronto Electric Light was likewise put out of business when the publicly-owned Ontario Hydro Electric Commission brought power to the people thanks to Sir Adam Beck.


Niagara Falls History of Power link

 

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