Latlng: (43.646929, -79.334600)
|Creation Date||Jan 20 2009|
|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)