The Tunnel at Niagara Parks Power Station – Niagara Falls, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

AO Edited

The Tunnel at Niagara Parks Power Station

A tunnel that brings more than a century of history to life from the deepest parts of the Niagara Gorge.  


The Niagara Parks Power Station was formerly known as the Canadian Niagara Power Company generating station and was a source of electricity for over 100 years.

Built in 1905, based on designs by Nikola Tesla, the former hydroelectric generating station contained eleven vertical axle 25-hertz generators, each with vertical steel shafts that would draw water into the fore-bay and drop 180 feet before being expelled into a 2,200-foot tunnel that emptied into the Lower Niagara River, right at the base of Horseshoe Falls.

The 2,200-foot Tailrace Tunnel runs underneath the Niagara Parks power station, below table rock, and out to a spectacular new viewing platform along the Niagara Gorge. The tunnel was carved out with no high-tech tools, just workers with dynamite, pickaxes, and shovels excavating by lantern light. It was built over four years from 1901 - 1905. While the plant was in operation, the tunnel was the exit point for water used to generate hydropower. Water entered the tunnel via draft tubes in the walls and ceiling and would be carried down a slope of 17 feet from the start of the tunnel until it exited the portal back into the Niagara River. Construction of the tunnel was a significant mining task with hundreds of workers using steam power and compressed air to see them through the excavation.

Reconstruction of the tunnel started in early 2022 and the authentic preservation of the tunnel as an important historical landmark was the first consideration in all decisions related to the adaptive reuse construction of the new visitor experience.

The tunnel offers visitors a 2,200-foot-long journey from the wheel pit where the water entered to the portal opening where it returned to the Niagara River. A brand-new viewing platform was constructed in the spring of 2022, providing guests with a never before seen panoramic view of Niagara Falls.

The platform offers spectacular views of Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls and brings visitors right to the very edge of the Niagara River.

Know Before You Go

Give yourself time to visit the Power Station before heading down the tunnel so that you understand the history of how the tunnel functioned. 

Paid parking is available on-site and the Niagara Regional Transit We-Go bus system does have two stops at the facility. 

The site is accessible for those who utilize mobility aids. 

Community Contributors
Added by

April 26, 2023

Make an Edit Add Photos
In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web