Latlng: (43.646929, -79.334600)

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R.L. Hearn Generating Station

Toronto, Ontario

Location Owner axle
Creation Date Jan 20 2009
Status Unknown
Category Industrial
Location Toronto, Ontario
Site number #531
Site Access Level Level 2

The Richard L. Hearn Thermal Generating Station was conseved in 1949, and was at the time the single largest construction project ever taken on by the city of Toronto. Cost, forty million dollars. The plant was named after Richard Lankaster Hearn, one of the pioneers of the modern power system in Ontario (Part of a group called "Beck(a)s Bright Boys" headed up by of course Sir Adam Beck). Upon being interviewed at the honor of having a plant named after him, Dr. Hearn replied: "I know nothing about steam, nothing at all." Dr. Hearn went on to become one of the founders of Atomic Energy Canada Ltd (Invented the CANDU Nuclear Reactor). Hearn was the final member of the Bright Boys to pass away in May of 1987. He actually saw the birth and death of the plant named after him. But anyways. Hearn, 14 storeys tall and over 1000 feet in length (3 Football Fields) Hearn was completed in 1952, with four 100 Megawatt Coal Fired steam turbines, the first four in Canada. By the 1960s, four more units were added, 200 MW units, again coal-fired. Hearn reached full operating capacity March 22nd, 1961. At the time it burned 440 tons of coal per hour and used thirty-six million gallons of lake water for cooling purposes. Six-Hundred people were employed to maintain Hearn. Final Cost, 156 Million Dollars. It was in the 1970s that Hearn gained infamy as the single greatest polluter in Toronto, when the eight original stacks were demolished and a single 760 Foot tall stack was built, at an additional cost of 9 million dollars. Also during this time Units 1-4 were converted to burn natural gas, and units 5-8 were converted to burn either natural gas or coal. In total the plant consumed forty billion cubic feet of natural gas...per year. In 1979 fuel costs shot skyward as OPEC put a clamp on oil production in the middle east. Hydro mothballed units 1-4. During the 1980s Hydro and the city of Toronto investigated the possibility to convert Hearn to burn medical waste to provide power to the turbines, if completed, the upgrades would be operational by the year 2000. But three years later, those plans fell through. And the plant(a)s fate was sealed. Closure was slated for April 1985. It came sooner. Hearn was officially shut down July 1st, 1983. Happy Canada Day...you(a)re laid off. Units 7 & 8 were mothballed, and a skeleton team of 150 employees were left to maintain the plant as a voltage regulator unit. Demolition plans followed shortly after. The Hearn Stack lay in the flight path of Runway 26 of Pearson International Airport, and was a hazard to navigation. Removal of the stack would save the airport two million dollars. Again, like many things, the plan never followed through. A cold front swept through the province in the winter of 1988, leaving the province screaming for power, forcing the re-activation of units 5 & 6 of the mothballed plant. Because of this plans were put in place for the Winter of 1990/91 for the reactivation of units 7 & 8, but Bob Rae(a)s new government put an end to that plan. By 1995 Hearn was staffed by ten employees, still serving as a voltage regulator, and then even they were laid off, and the plant fell silent. Only the switching yard remains active today. But the story doesn(a)t end there. In 2001, Toronto still was screaming for more power, so OPG investigated the installation of a new plant using the shell of Hearn. They never went beyond the drawing board. In 2002 OPG and Great Lakes Studio struck a deal to convert Hearn into a movie set. Completion of the project was set for 2004. Power was however still needed, and the plan to build a power station within Hearn was revisited...and fell through. It would cost too much money. OPG began construction of the Portland Energy Center in the former coal fields to the east of the plan. Between April 2006 and June 2007 all eight units were removed from the plant and left to rot outside, By April 2008 the generator floor was all but removed leaving only the pillars that supported the generators. Contact Paul Vaughn at 416-413-0689 to book location.

Latlng: (43.646929, -79.334600)

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avatar of Greg
Greg how's security? any risks of going?
Aug 06 2016
unknown user avatar
Unknown User Someone fell 3 stories into a coal hopper and died here in 2008, Be careful and avoid catwalks.
Aug 24 2015
avatar of Miche
Miche Made it inside here today!!!! There are a few sensors throughout the building. That's how security caught me! The guy was pretty nice though.
Sep 13 2014
unknown user avatar
Unknown User Darkman, who told you that? I find it suspicious since there are gaping holes everywhere & animals could get in with ease.
Oct 04 2013
avatar of DARKMAN
DARKMAN Apparently there is electronic sensors in there now that alert security you are in there and police are dispatched from close by :(
Aug 06 2013
avatar of HudsonTL
HudsonTL Just found out that my father used to work for the company that owned this place and rented it out for movies. His own equipment was used in this place for the filming of RoboCop. I might get a chance to talk to Paul Vaughn (the man that got the rights to turn this into a studio).
Mar 20 2013
avatar of HudsonTL
HudsonTL This place is incredible! I need to make my way down to Toronto soon! Can anyone recommend a good place to park around here and not get caught?
Mar 20 2013
avatar of East Of Eden
East Of Eden What a beauty location. Bring your skates, because the entire ground level is iced up. Watch out for cracking air pockets in the ice as it will echoe through the entire location and really give you away. Be sneaky and safe and don't let your ego carry you up to the top levels. That's just dumb.
Mar 19 2013
avatar of densing
densing I know when I was here in April security was ridiculous, it would've been impossible to get in. There were lots of trucks coming and going, a guard patrolling the building and one at the main entrance. He told us a story of how someone was running from the cops a few years ago in the building, fell and broke rips, punctured a lung, etc. Someone else also died falling 9 flights down.
Jun 03 2012
unknown user avatar
Unknown User @redman Thanks for the update! It looks so clean in the turbine hall!
May 11 2012
avatar of redman
redman The last filming finished up towards the end of April, for something called The Colony, either from that or a past movie there was still sticky fake blood coating some of the walls and floors. No issues with security as long as you avoid all the construction vehicles moving around the site.
May 10 2012
unknown user avatar
Unknown User Thanks sQualie! I knew about the filming bu there was rumors of increased security after the apparent fall earlier in the year.
Jan 03 2012
avatar of sQualie
sQualie @riddimryder: A group of us was there on the tail end of the filming of the new Resident Evil movie in November and we had no issues with security. You just have to keep your eye and ear open though as this may have changed. They have since filmed a Guillermo Del Torro movie there that wrapped a couple of weeks ago.
Jan 02 2012
unknown user avatar
Unknown User Anyone been here lately? Would like to hear updates on new security system that may be in place!
Sep 21 2011
unknown user avatar
Unknown User this entry was created very recently, I'm curious how old are the pictures uploaded here? do you know if this location is still standing/accesible?
Sep 08 2009