The formerly barren landscape south of the downtown core has seen profound growth since the 1970s, and with abandoned railway lands now replaced with high-rise condominiums and office complexes, the need for infrastructure is approaching critical mass. A new vertical neighbourhood can put quite the strain on a city’s energy infrastructure, and several new commercial and residential developments will compound the issue by bringing in several thousand new residents and workers over the next few years. To prepare for the increased demand, Toronto Hydro is constructing a new transformer station at the west end of the historic John Street Roundhouse. The Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station will sit partially below ground, underneath the Roundhouse’s restored machine shop.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsSite of the the transformer station, image from Apple Maps

The 144 Mega-Volt-Ampere facility will be the first new transformer station built downtown in almost 50 years, relieving the aging Windsor Station a few blocks to the north, which currently struggles to meet around 40% of the downtown core’s power demands. Construction is well underway on the $195 million project, with excavation now largely complete and concrete foundations in place.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsConstruction progress from early December, image by Forum member kram74

A tower crane has recently been erected on site, as seen in the photo visible below captured by Forum member ‘Indrid Cold’.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsCrane recently raised at the site of the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, image by Forum member Indrid Cold

Integrating the station into one of the country’s busiest tourist districts was an important factor in IBI Group’s design. Though all of the structure site below the grade of Bremner Boulevard’s busy sidewalks, the facility will rise slightly above grade on Lake Shore Boulevard and Rees Street, both of which will be animated by decorative panels depicting the area’s railroad history. Up top, the public High Line Plaza and Rail Garden will add yet another layer to the neighbourhood’s ever-evolving public realm.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsRendering of the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station

We will be sure to return to this project for updates as construction continues to progress. In the meantime, additional renderings with plenty of impressive detail can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided at the bottom of this page.