Toronto's core has been the site of explosive growth in recent years, and while the urban renewal has transformed it for the better, the thousands more people now living and working in the area have put a tremendous strain on the existing power infrastructure. Toronto Hydro's existing Windsor Transformer Station at John and Wellington currently serves a large portion of the downtown core, including about 40% of the power that flows through the Financial District as well as much of the South Core. As more condominium and office towers continue to spring up, construction crews are working away on a new transformer station being built to add capacity and lighten the load on the existing Windsor Station.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsNorthwest facing view of the transformer station construction site, image by Vik Pahwa

Located a few blocks south of the Windsor Station, the new IBI Group Architects-designed Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station will sit largely underground immediately west of Roundhouse Park and south of Bremner Boulevard across from the Rogers Centre. 

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsSouthwest facing view of the transformer station construction site, image by Vik Pahwa

Construction on the project got under way in May 2013, and by early 2014, the project had hit a number of milestones, including the testing of the large gas-insulated transformers and the launch of a TBM named "Lauren" from 35 meters below Bremner Boulevard, for the purpose of drilling 600 meters to connect with the existing power grid. The project also began work on its ground floor last winter.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsSouth facing view of the transformer station construction site, image by Vik Pahwa

While the bulk of the facility will be located below grade on its north end, the sloping grade to the south means that the Rees Street and Lake Shore Boulevard elevations will rise above ground behind decorative brick retaining walls accented with weathering steel. 

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station, Toronto Hydro, IBI Group ArchitectsRees Street elevation at the transformer station site, image by Vik Pahwa

Despite much of the transformer station being located above grade at the south end, most passing through the area will hardy notice, as the entire facility will be topped with a public plaza at Bremner Boulevard level featuring a landscaped 'rail garden' with an installation known as the "High Line".

For those interested in staying up to the minute on this construction project, a webcam overlooking the site provides frequently refreshed images of the site.

Additional information and renderings for the Copeland Transformer Station can be found in our dataBase file, linked below. Want to join in the discussion? Check out our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

Vik Pahwa is a Toronto-based urban photographer. View more of his work here.