March 23rd, 2021

NDP MPP Michael Mantha to table bill proclaiming ‘Waterpower Day’

QUEEN’S PARK –NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin) will introduce a bill on Wednesday to proclaim Waterpower Day in Ontario to be celebrated every June 20, on Sir Adam Beck’s birthday.

The bill commemorates the father of public hydro, 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 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 provides power to our economy.”

Waterpower Day is recognized by 16 municipalities across Ontario. The province has over 200 facilities that produce 25 per cent 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 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, Quite West, Timmins, the municipalities of Mississippi Mills, Trent Hills, 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 (FONOM) and the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA).

Under 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. Beck became the first chairman of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission in 1906, and he was knighted by King George V in 1914 for his promotion of electricity and development of transmission lines.