Hydro Substations

Today’s post is a bit of a big one… But this is only the tip of them…

I’ve been long interested by the small neighbourhood hydro substations. Many blend in almost seamlessly into the surrounding area, with only the “Danger High Voltage” sign tipping you off that these buildings serve another purpose.

I’ve noted the ones I know of any, and information I have about them. If you know of any I’ve missed, please post their location in the comments. Many are being decommissioned, and likely in danger of eventual demolition.

The Gordon Fuller Hydro Substation. Pelissier & Shepherd. 1959

Walkerville No. 1. Built by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario in 1914. According to records there was a duplicate located in Windsor, that was greatly expanded in 1922. That building was taken out of service in 1943. Walkerville No. 1 was in service until the early 2000’s and is now home to Design Studio g+G.

Substation #55, on Prince Road at the intersection with Vaughan St. Built in 1956, it replaced an earlier temporary substation on the same site.

I stumbled across this one by accident this past weekend. It’s located on Bloomfield Road at the intersection with South Street.

Substation #42 a.k.a. The Oliver Perry Substation. Wyandotte and Crawford. Designed by David J. Cameron, it was built in 1942 at a cost of $137,000
(about $1.9 million in 2010 dollars).

California Avenue & College Avenue. This tin box is known as #51, built in 1951. This one was built to help increase power in the area from the River to Tecumseh Road and from Josephine in the east to Brock St. in the west. Total cost for this one, land building and equipment was $58,973.65 (about $509k in 2010 dollars).

The Mac J. Brian Hydro substation. Built at Chatham & Bruce, in 1954 at a cost of about $131,000 (a little over $1 million today). The hydro report at the time has this description:

    “…a modern building has been built to conform to zoning by-laws and to harmonize with the assumed future character of the area.”

This old substation is now decommissioned and appears to be vacant, and getting shabby. Located at Marion & Niagara, about halfway between Walker and Howard.

The former Substation #41. The older brother of the Oliver Perry Station shown above. Built in 1941 by David J. Cameron. This building was decommissioned a few years ago, and is currently in private hands undergoing renovation.

Substation #53. Located at George and Milloy, and also designed by David J. Cameron. Started in 1953, it was completed in 1955, and replaced two older obsolete stations that were located on the n.w. corner of George and Seminole.

This is another vacant decommissioned substation. This one I believe dates to about 1919/1920. Located at Hanna & Elsmere.

Located on McDougall & City Hall Square, the William Anderson Substation was designed in 1961, by engineer Les Ingersol. The story goes that the pole on the left side between the wall and the roof was not part of the original design. As soon as the concrete pour was done, the roof immediately began to sag. Nothing tried at the time could correct the issue, and the solution was to work the pole into the final design.

1967, Johnson & McWhinnie. Grand Marais & Parent.

The next three are ones I am aware of, but didn’t have pictures of… So these ones come from streetview.

Lauzon Road & Little River Boulevard. Decommissioned substation, converted to retail use. Probably the smallest of all substations.

Grand Marais & Walker. This dates back to the 1920’s or earlier as well…

McDougall just north of Erie. This one was at one time the nerve centre. Many substations could be remotely controlled from this the central substation.

Looks like the house design, was just repeated over and over again… At various locations across the city.

Anyone know any locations I’ve missed?


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