PLANT GROUP: Northwest Plant Group
DRAINAGE BASIN: Lake Superior
NEAREST POPULATION CENTRE: Thunder Bay (29 km (18 miles) east)
IN SERVICE DATE:
UNITS 1-2 - 1906
UNIT 3 - 1911
UNIT 4 - 1914
ACQUIRED BY HYDRO-ELECTRIC POWER COMMISSION OF ONTARIO: 1949
FROM: Kaministiquia Power Company (Abitibi Power and Paper Company)
ASSET TRANSFERRED TO ONTARIO POWER GENERATION: April 1, 1999
NUMBER OF UNITS: 4
CAPACITY: 25 MW
TRIBUTARY: Dog River
In 1896, a year before Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee as a reigning monarch and ten years before the creation of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, a resident of northern Ontario, E.S. Jenison approached the provincial government. He was seeking approval of a project to develop waterpower in the Kaministiquia River near Kakabeka Falls. His objective was to serve customers in the growing Lakehead communities of Fort William and Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) with electricity.
At the time of the Jenison petition waterpower development was in its infancy Not only was the proposed Jenison enterprise to be regarded as almost a pioneer undertaking from the point of view of hydraulic construction, but the power he developed would have to be transmitted a distance of approximately 32 km (20 miles). Transmission of electricity was just emerging from the experimental stage. Jenison, however, appears to have been a man who inspired confidence. His request was granted and the development was carried out successfully.
In 1905, the cities of Port Arthur and Fort William were becoming a grain centre. Flour milling industries started and the demand for power became urgent. Sir H.S. Holt, W.A. Black, president of Ogilvie Milling Company, C.R. Hosmer and others purchased E.S. Jenison's right and the present plant was commenced.
The Company developed the plant for 15 000 hp and commenced supply in December 1906. Further extensions in 1911 developed a further 7500 hp and the powerhouse was extended to its present size. The final development to the limit of stream flow was made in 1914 by the addition of a 12 500 hp turbine.
In 1949, the business and assets of the Kaministiquia Power Company were purchased from the parent Abitibi Power and Paper Company in Toronto by the Commission. The assets of the Company were purchased at a price of $5 million. This included the Kakabeka Falls generating station as well as the storage dams and other associated facilities near the plant.
With the purchase of the station, the Commission was now in a position to amalgamate all the power resources in that part of the province. In addition, the Commission now had complete control of the water storage and flow of the Kaministiquia River which was of considerable value when Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario proceeded with the Silver Falls development. Also, the Commission was in a position to use water available in the Nipigon and Kaministiquia River watersheds to much better advantage than it would be if these waters were controlled and operated by different parties.
By amalgamating all the power resources of the northwestern part of the province into one system, the Commission was able to guarantee better electrical service (see also Silver Falls).