TORONTO – Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha introduced a bill on Wednesday to proclaim Waterpower Day in Ontario be celebrated every June 20 on Sir Adam Beck’s birthday.
The bill commemorates the father of public hydro, former Ontario MPP Sir Adam Beck, and highlights the important contributions waterpower facilities and their workers bring to Ontario.
“Ontario was one of the first producers in the world of mass public hydro-electricity and Adam Beck was its champion. He was dedicated to harnessing nature’s forces to serve the needs of the public,” said Mr. Mantha. “We should be proud of our heritage and celebrate our accomplishments and those of our workers, and our waterpower facilities that keep the lights on in this province, and provide power to our economy.”
Waterpower Day is recognized by 16 municipalities across Ontario. The province has over 200 facilities that produce 25 percent of the province’s electricity in Ontario, one-quarter of all electricity comes from waterpower facilities.
“Each year on June 20, we can think about the importance waterpower, the workers behind it, and how we can ensure Ontarians benefit from affordable, reliable and sustainable waterpower, that was part of our history for more than a century,” said Mr. Mantha. “It is also a day to reflect on climate change, and what we need to do to lead a shift to a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable economy, rooted in equity, affordability and reconciliation.”
“I and the entire waterpower industry appreciate MPP Mantha’s leadership in introducing this bill,” said Paul Norris, president of the Ontario Waterpower Association. “This will add the province’s support to the dozens of communities across the province who celebrate Waterpower Day annually.”
Current Waterpower Day supporters include the cities of Kawartha Lakes, Kingston, Niagara Falls, Peterborough, Quinte West, Timmins, the municipalities of Mississippi Mills, Trent Hill, Wawa, the towns of Blind River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Renfrew, Smooth Rock Falls, the townships of Ear Falls, Selwyn and the village of South River. It is also supported by the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association.
Under Mr. Beck’s leadership, a municipally owned hydroelectric system was built, funded by the provincial government, and using water from Niagara Falls and other Ontario lakes and rivers. Mr. Beck became the first chairman of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 1906, and Mr. Beck was knighted by King George V in 1914 for his promotion of electricity and development of transmission lines.