As Toronto's Downtown core continues to experience a surge of growth and new demand, so too does the city's  power grid. Facilitated by an ongoing construction boom, new residential and commercial density is putting an increasing strain on Toronto Hydro infrastructure in the core, with the Windsor Transformer station alone currently providing some 40% of the electricity flowing through much of the city's Financial District and South Core. Facing an acute need for new Hydro infrastructure in a rapidly urbanizing environment, the Clare R. Copeland Transformer Station—currently under construction—seeks to provide vital support to the power grid in a way that fits cohesively into the residential and increasingly dense urban context around it.  

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Starion, Hydro Toronto, IBI Group ArchitectsLooking north-east, image by Craig White

Since our last update, construction has progressed significantly, with the project now seen rising above grade at the edge of Roundhouse Park (above). Although the IBI Group Architects-designed facility has only recently climbed above grade—with the peak of the exterior shell now standing at the final two-storey height—the bulk of construction work has already taken place, as the central workings of the new station will be housed below grade. 

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Starion, Hydro Toronto, IBI Group ArchitectsLooking north, with the base of the CN Tower visible in the background, image by Craig White

Since beginning construction in mid-2013, the foundations of the project have been laid 35 metres underground, ensuring that the new facility does not aesthetically disrupt the urban landscape around it. From the base of the foundation, a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) named 'Lauren' was launched to connect the facility with the existing power grid, drilling some 600 metres down to reach existing underground infrastructure.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Starion, Hydro Toronto, IBI Group ArchitectsAn aerial view of construction, looking west, image by Craig White

While a substantial part of the Copeland Station will be located above grade, the project's exterior design features will serve to minimize the facility's impact on the street-scape, since the roof of the facility will serve as a public plaza, preserving a piece of Downtown Toronto's increasingly scarce open space. Set to feature a landscape 'rail garden,' the design of the plaza will serve as an homage to Roundhouse Park's past life as a locomotive handling facility.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Starion, Hydro Toronto, IBI Group ArchitectsLooking north-west across the future plaza, image by Craig White

The impact of the facility's height on the surrounding park space will also be substantially nullified by the sloping grade to the south of the park, which will provide easy and unobstructed access to the plaza. The Rees Street and Lake Shore Boulevard walls (below), meanwhile, are set to feature decorative brick retaining walls with accents of weathering steel, in another subtle gesture to the area's more industrial past.

Clare R. Copeland Transformer Starion, Hydro Toronto, IBI Group ArchitectsA rendering of the completed project, image courtesy of IBI Architects

In addition to our recently taken photos, a 24-hour webcam is following construction progress on the site, providing frequently refreshed images of current progress. 

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.