Toronto Hydro builds $195 million downtown transformer station, first since 1955

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hydro station project
Toronto Hydro chair David Williams, MPP Bob Delaney, former Hydro chair Clare Copeland, Anthony Haines, Toronto Hydro president and CEO, and councillor Adam Vaughan put shovels in the ground to kick-off construction.
hydro station project
Toronto Hydro chair David Williams, MPP Bob Delaney, former Hydro chair Clare Copeland, Anthony Haines, Toronto Hydro president and CEO, and councillor Adam Vaughan put shovels in the ground to kick-off construction.

GTA Construction Report staff writer

Toronto Hydro has started constructing a new $195 million downtown transformer station, the first built in the core in almost six decades.

IBI Group has been commissioned to provide complete and integrated architectural, design and engineering services for the project, formerly known as the Bremner Transformer Station and Machine Shop, IBI’s website says.

Carillion is the general contractor.

“This station will help address the immediate need for additional capacity to the downtown electricity grid and allow for critical infrastructure upgrades at Windsor Station, which is one of only five stations powering the downtown core,” said Anthony Haines, Toronto Hydro’s president and CEO.
Located near the historic John Street Roundhouse north of Lakeshore Blvd., it was officially named Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station on May 22 and is the first station built in the downtown core by Toronto Hydro since 1955. When in service, it will provide electricity to buildings and neighbourhoods in the central-southwest region of Toronto.

The majority of the station will be built underground and will preserve the historical railroad building called the Machine Shop.

A Toronto Hydro news release says Clare R. Copeland served Toronto Hydro as its board chair from 1999 to 2013.

Toronto Hydro’s announcement says that Toronto’s downtown population increased by more than 50 per cent between 2006 and 2011 and the city has grown to be the fourth largest metropolitan area, by population, in North America.

“Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station will provide much needed additional capacity to serve current and future load requirements in this high-density, high-growth area of Toronto,” the news release said. “In addition, the new station will ‘back up’ the existing Windsor Transformer Station, located on Front St., in order to enable staged replacements of its end-of-life equipment.”

Most of the station will be built under the existing Machine Shop located at Roundhouse Park, which will be re-assembled after construction of the station is complete. The Machine Shop will house the protection, control and station service equipment, while the major equipment (including transformers, switchgear and cabling) will be housed below. Electrical supply for the station will be provided from Hydro One’s Esplanade station on Front St. From Esplanade Station, cables will be routed via a new underground cable tunnel to the new transformer station, where the voltages will be reduced, through transformers, for distribution to customers in the area.

The new station is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

Once in service, the new transformer station will add a total of 144 mva of capacity, which is the equivalent to approximately 70 condo buildings. According to the City of Toronto, there are 189 high rise buildings approved for construction in Toronto. As well, the station will power major Toronto institutions including the CBC, Rogers Centre and the new Ripley’s Aquarium. It will also connect to new infrastructure along Queens Quay, which is being revitalized as part of Waterfront Toronto’s vision.

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