Monday, November 22, 2021

Light show at Currents: Niagara's Power Transformed

Niagara Falls is full of impressive architectural buildings that were part of the electrification of Ontario, some of them have sat idle, decommissioned due to age, cost or changing technology and one such building has been brought back to life as a museum and light show. The Niagara Parks Power Station along with the nearby Toronto Power Generating Station, located along the Niagara Parkway just upriver of the falls, were both examples of the decommissioned, historically significant buildings. But now the Power Station has been brought back to life as a museum and immersive multisensory experience by Thinkwell Studio Montreal. I really enjoyed the night show and can recommend it.

The lights seek out people

The night time show uses animation, 3D projection along with interactive features, sound and lighting to create a 40 minute story of the Niagara River and the resulting hydro power generation in the 600 foot long building. Originally finished in 1905 and shut down in 2006 with the Parks department taking over ownership in 2009 and the Power Plant opened to the public on July 1, 2021.

During the day the Power Station is a museum, full of the original equipment including massive generators running down one side of the building and switches and breakers down the middle of the room. Posters and speakers tell the story of the equipment and the history of power generation in the town known around the world for its waterfalls. You can explore the museum 7 days a week ($20 per ticket) from 10am till 5pm. There is a separate area adjacent the long hall with a waiting area and souvenir store.
Explore the plant during the day

Water was taken into the plant and fell through 200 foot deep tailrace tunnels, spinning the turbines and exiting the station at the base of the river, below the falls. In July of 2022 they expect the newest addition to the site will allow visitors to explore the underground tunnels and rooms of the station with access from an elevator at the tailrace tunnel.

Then at night from 6:30pm till 7:30pm (8:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays) it turns into Currents: Niagara Power Transformed at a cost of $30 per ticket. You can also do a combo package visiting during the day and returning at night for the show for $40. There is some benches along the side of the building, however the show is a standing and exploring show. You walk and sometimes the lights will follow you, jump and the water will splash at your feet. It would make a great night club. 
A small clip from the show

Currents tells the stories of the beginning featuring the ice age and the aftermath which created the Niagara River and its associated Falls, the harnessing of the power of water to generate electricity, the closing of the plant and its rebirth as a must see attraction in the honeymoon capital of the world. The influence of water so important to creating electricity in the plant that in the night show blue is probably the colour used the most.
At night the American and Horseshoe Falls are illuminated
Winter Festival of Light installations at the Floral Showhouse

In the cold months from November 13, 2021 until February 21, 2022 you can also check out the parkland along the Niagara Parkway and around Dufferin Islands with the free outdoor Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights presented by Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

See more of the Power Plant after the jump.

The forebay with the power plant on the right hand side of this photo

Insulated power conductors inside the generators
You can access the plant from the sidewalk along the Niagara Parkway or from the adjacent parking lot

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