THUNDER BAY – The whole idea of producing electricity from waterfalls was still quite new when the generators were first activated at Kakabeka Falls in 1906. Those very generators can be seen in this image. It was a growing demand for electricity primarily from the town of Fort William that compelled the formation of a consortium of businessmen, headed by Montreal financier Herbert Holt (one of Canada’s richest men) to buy up the rights to the falls.
People had dreamed for years about harnessing the power of the falls and several had put forward schemes that were gigantic in scope but thoroughly impractical.
It took the genius and financial might of a man like Holt to make it a reality. Holt’s motives were not altruistic; he had an interest in several of the heavy industries then being built in Westfort and intended to use the power to run them.
Text by Tory Tronrud, Thunder Bay Museum
Photo courtesy of the Thunder Bay Museum