The Georgian Bay Explorer -
Power from Eugenia Falls
ln May, 1913, engineers from Ontario's newly
formed Hydro Electrical Power Commission arrived
at Eugenia on the Beaver River in Grey County. There, dye was placed in every spring, creek, or stream in the area. Men were placed in shifts to keep watch in the Beaver River Valley to spot coloured water coming out of the rocks of the Niagara Escarpment. By fall, the go-ahead for an electrical power plant had been issued. That autumn, the Hydro Commission began to approach farmers in the area, offering them cash for their properties. A two-mile width of land was purchased, some 1,900 acres including settled farms with homes and barns. Some owners were able to dismantle their homes, moving or selling them. Large crews of labourers were brought to Eugenia where two large concrete dams were under construction. Working literally around the clock with 500 men and over 100 teams of horses in two shifts, by November, 1915 it was all completed. The flood gates were closed and the Beaver River began to flood the former farms putting 1,700 acres under water. A generating station was built to house two generators and turbines to produced an expected 8,000-horse power. The first shipment of turbines and generators was bought in Switzerland but the ship they were on was sunk by a German submarine as it entered the St. Lawrence River. This delayed the opening of the Eugenia Power Plant but finally the equipment was installed and everything was ready to produce electricity.
Then came the grand opening with an electrically cooked dinner in the new powerhouse served to many Hydro officials including Sir Adam Beck. ln the years to come, the power plant at Eugenia Falls was a show place for Ontario as visitors came to see it from near and far.