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Sir Henry Pellatt:

 

King of Casa Loma

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Niagara Power

In the mid 1800s, Canada, indeed society itself was changed forever as the world became wired for power, light and sound. Ample evidence of this change was found along the nation's roadways where wires were often strung up as thick as strands of yarn on a carder. Electricity was the byword of the times and names such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse figure prominently among the masters of the new technology.

One of Sir Henry Pellatt's proudest personal achievements was to be a part of this movement. He strongly advocated the use of electrical power, setting up one of the first steam-generated power systems in Ontario. Later, he was an ardent lobbyist for the channeling of power from Niagara Falls to Toronto. Sir Henry's interests were also financial as the companies  he set up to handle the power development put millions of shares on the market which critics felt had been watered down, reducing their face value,   by the large numbers.

Before Tesla, Niagara power could not be carried as far as Toronto and development was centred around power generation sites. The alternative current system devised by Tesla made it possible for power to be sent over longer distances and  Pellatt's home was one of the first to be lit by Niagara-generated power.

But the government at the time was not about to let power remain in private hands and set the pattern of public ownership for generations. In effect the government took over the generation of power, severely controlling and largely subsidizing it. Consequently, when there were attempts to return the ownership to private hands and to make the system pay for itself, the increased fees were substantial and the public protested.

 

 

 

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