(Can’t have too many pictures of Niagara Falls)
We’re back from Canada….. in body anyhow, not so sure about mind yet, well maybe not body either. We have to get up by the clock and eat by the clock and go to bed by the clock because so far the rhythm of the day doesn’t feel right here. Before we left I read an article about living with jet-lag. On the plane I forgot to follow the instructions to eat and drink nothing and go to sleep. Instead, I stayed awake and ate and drank everything…. oh well. The one tip that I had heard a long time ago was get plenty of sunlight and that seems to be helping.
(The crane-like structures in the background are where the electricity story starts, the green water in the centre is where the Niagara river pours over the falls)
Anyway, there are still some things that we visited and I haven’t told you about so today it’s the power station. You might remember we also visited a power station in Scotland? This one was in Niagara, between the Falls and a beautiful town called Niagara on the Lake.
(and one more of the falls…)
On our way back from our visit to Niagara Falls we decided to fit in a couple more attractions. The first was the Sir Adam Beck Hydro Electric Power Station. This station started producing power in the 1920’s and it’s very interesting how they did that. In Grahame’s itinerary for Niagara Falls he had mentioned that the Maid of the Mist didn’t run early in the morning because the water levels are not high enough due to hydro-electric demands…. So I thought there must be a power station at the Falls…. there isn’t. It’s much more interesting than that.
(Tunnel underground to the power station)
The power station is 8km down the road from the Falls at a spot over the Niagara River where the drop is even higher than at the falls. Higher drop = more power. But back in 1917 there was no water dropping from any height here, so… that diverted the Niagara river. At a place before the river went over the Falls they diverted it, and they reversed the flow of another river (can’t remember its name) that was flowing into the Niagara at that point. The picture might help to explain.
(That’s the Niagara River flowing from top to bottom of the picture. Those white blobs on the top left are the falls (Canadian and American.) That fuzzy line on the left corner of the screen is the tour guide’s pointer – he’s pointing at the place where the Niagara river water is diverted down a canal (blue line running from top left to middle.) The yellow lines running from the diversion point to the power station are underground tunnels built in the 1950’s when more power was needed and a second power station was built. The two Canadian power stations are in the foreground on the right bank of the river and there’s an American power station on the left bank.)
(The yellow turbines – well, the tops of the turbines. Notice the workers get around on tricycles)
More water going to the power station might mean more power but it means less of a splash at the Falls, so…. the diversion only operates at night and in the morning all the power of the Niagara river goes back over the Niagara Falls. The tourists are happy and the Maid of the Mist can operate.
Is it time to go to bed yet? Mairead.