Sunday, May 12, 2013

Swift Rapids Dam and Locks

I attended a memorial service at the Trent-Severn Waterway lock number 43 and hydro-electric dam at Severn Falls north of Orillia. The weather and the views made for a perfect day to reflect on life. In an earlier time the area was settled by the hydro workers that manned the dam and their families. Now, the electric generating station is computerized and only only one person is permanently located at the site.
Only one of the spillways was open to let out the overflow
Transformers change the generated electricity into a higher voltage and send it out over a pair of hydro pole lines running through a path cleared through the bush. The dirt access road winds along the route, passing in and out of the ROW as it lies along rock outcroppings of the Canadian Shield, swamps, rivers and lakes. The road was a challenge and I was glad that we went in an SUV, driven by someone else! We didn't see much wildlife along the way except for turtles sunning themselves on logs in the water.
The Ontario Power Authority website says this. "The dam site consists of three interconnected sections. On the north side of the Severn River is the lock section, which contains the TSW navigational Lock #43, complete with the lock control tower and an equipment and storage facility. This section of the dam site is owned and operated by Parks Canada. The centre section of the dam site contains the intake section and the generating station along with the auxiliary equipment required for its’ operation. This section of the dam site is owned and operated by Orillia Power Generation Corporation. The southern section is the dam and spillway section, which is owned and operated by Parks Canada. The deck of the dam and spillway section is used as a roadway to provide access to the generating station and lock sections of the dam."
The lock sections are completely full of water waiting for the upcoming boating season. The locks are operated from late May to mid-October.

See more of nature after the jump.

Most of the evidence of the old community is gone now, only a few visible pieces of foundations and a couple of rotting sheds remain

Some of the turtles catching rays that we found along the drive

Ontario Provincial flowers - Trilliums, are now in bloom

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