Centennial Electric Tunnel Opens in Niagara Falls to Boost Ontario’s Tourism Industry
Visitors flock to Niagara Falls over Canada Day weekend to catch a glimpse of the cascading water from a view never before seen by the public.
A century-old, 2,200-foot-long water tunnel located nearly 200 feet below the surface of a power plant leads to a water-level viewing platform. It offers stunning panoramic views of the Horseshoe and American Falls.
« It really is light at the end of the tunnel for COVID-19. People can get out there and enjoy life and exploration again, » said Kim Viney, senior manager of business development at Niagara Parks.
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Officially opened on July 1, the tunnel expands the visitor experience at the Niagara Parks Power Plant by providing an underground glimpse into the building’s extensive underground infrastructure.
Upon entering the powerhouse, visitors are whisked into a 180-foot-deep elevator shaft with glass doors, stepping back in time on the historic trail running tunnel.
Once they reach the designated depth, they are greeted by a massive tunnel draped in brickwork. This is where the 2,200 foot journey begins. This tunnel is where the powerhouse’s sewage flowed through the engineering marvel on its way back to the Niagara River. Now, instead of turbulent waters, they are greeted by a concrete path accessible to all.
The journey through the tunnel is one that engages all the senses. The further visitors venture, the more they can smell the humidity in the air and hear the deafening sound of falling water.
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They are finally greeted by the raging waters of the Niagara River as they emerge from the tunnel, onto a brand new viewing platform perched just above the water.
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“We seriously launched this project a week before the world shut down in March 2020, and we had to make a heartfelt decision whether we were going to continue or put it on hold,” Viney said. The project received a $25 million loan from the Government of Ontario, funding provided to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on Niagara’s $2.4 billion tourism industry.
Instead of pandering to these challenges, Niagara Parks decided to double down and keep 500 employees on the job during the first year of COVID. The project was completed on time and within budget.
“It has been a very difficult time for the tourism sector, but today the Niagara Region will begin to reopen its world-class attractions and embark on a path to recovery,” said the Minister of Heritage. , Lisa MacLeod, during a press announcement at Summer 2020.
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As visitors entered the tunnel and the falls for the first time, many were heard admiring the stunning views before their eyes.
“As you turn the corner, you start to hear the rumble and see the light. It’s both eerie and beautiful,” said one visitor.
The attraction is open daily and is expected to be open year-round. More information, including ticket prices, can be found online.
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