With a rash of new buildings springing up all across Downtown Toronto—condos, office towers, even new attractions—the city's infrastructure and its ability to accommodate new development is being strained. To ensure reliable electricity for all of the core's new residents and workers, Toronto Hydro is constructing the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroGroundbreaking for the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

On May 22, 2013 a ceremonial groundbreaking for the massive project was held. A dedicated plaque to Clare R. Copeland, the former Chairman of Toronto Hydro, (middle in the above photo), was also ingurated by officals from the City and the Province.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroOfficials commemorate a plaque to Clare R Copeland, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

Work on the 4-storey underground structure and its above ground park, however, has been ongoing for many months now and the scale of the project is being better understood. 

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroPile drivers continue shoring work along Lake Shore Boulevard, image by Forum member kram74

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroExcavators dig out the foundation along Lake Shore Boulevard, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

Pile driving rigs are on scene for shoring work to allow crews to dig out the pit. Aside from the restored and integrated machine shop, the entire structure housing the massive transformers will sit below the ground level of Bremner Boulevard.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroJohn Street Roundhouse Machine Shop before dismantling, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroMachine Shop is taken apart by demolition crews, image by Forum member kram74

Understanding the tourism importance of the area, the IBI Group-designed facility will animate the altered streetscape on Rees Street and Lake Shore Boulevard with decorative panels inspired by the area's railroad history.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroInterpretive panelling to be installed on the Lake Shore Boulevard and Rees Street streetwalls, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

On the roof of the 144 Mega-Volt-Ampere station, an interpretive plaza will recall the old trains and tracks of a bygone era and incorporate a rolling stock outdoor museum, building on the impressive present selection of railway displays at the Toronto Railway Historical Association's museum at the Roundhouse.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroFuture High Line Plaza and Rail Garden, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, IBI Group, Toronto HydroNew High Line Plaza and Rail Garden public space, image courtesy of Toronto Hydro

As the first new transformer station built downtown in almost 50 years, and with capacity situations at other stations pending, Toronto Hydro is working to keep the power flowing and lights on across the downtown area.

UrbanToronto will keep you updated with the lastest electrifying developments (sorry!), but in the meantime check out our project dataBase page, linked below, for more renderings and plans, or dive into our Forum thread for some discussion on the project.