More on the Mount Dennis Generator

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Steve Munro is a tireless blogger who is an authoritative voice on transit and politics in the GTA. He recently posted an article about the proposed Mount Dennis generator and some interesting points have emerged in his article and also in the comments section. As an aside, comments sections are IMHO as interesting and sometimes as informative as the articles to which they are attached.

Readers are no doubt aware that late last year, Metrolinx and its partner Crosslinx Transit Solutions proposed that an 18MW gas-powered generator be built to supply electricity in the extremely rare event of a Toronto Hydro outage. Later proposals designed to soften the blow claimed that heat could be recovered from the generator and used for heating purposes.

Steve maintains that the heat recovery idea could only be useful if the generator was operating regularly rather than the claimed (by Metrolinx) use as a standby. Also, according to Metrolinx, only one of the 6 generators would be used for heat recovery while the other 5 would be untouched.

He received information from Metrolinx stating that:

An alternative (to the gas powered generator) would have to provide the same basic functional requirements as the proposed natural gas powered facility.

The gas-powered facility was proposed in order to provide the ability to maintain service when the power goes out and improve transit resilience, lower the cost of power by eliminating any contribution to peak power demand from the new system, and ensuring it does not contribute to the need for more transmission or generation infrastructure.

Steve notes that there are several electric train systems coming on line and Metrolinx stated that there is already an ample electrical supply for these trains. He concludes that the main goal of the generator is to reduce electricity costs rather than provide an emergency backup.

In the comments, one reader suggests that in a true emergency, gas supply is only guaranteed for 3 hours. Another points out that the natural gas supply relies on line pumps which need electricity from the grid. Yet another states that running the whole line from one generator is impractical because of the voltage drop that would occur over the 19km length of the Crosstown Line.

Apparently the generating system at Pearson Airport sells power to the grid at peak times and this income pays for its operating and maintenance costs. The generator is fired up every week to ensure that it is reliable (i.e. at least 52 days a year) and supplies the airport with power on those days. Because the airport covers a relatively small area, transmission losses are minimal (unlike along a 19km transit line).

Incidentally, the last time power was knocked out to Terminals One and Three back in February, the emergency system failed to operate, leaving much of Pearson in the dark.

Read Steve Munro’s article here.

Remarkable arrest in Weston

Scott Weidmark, the Superintendent of 12 Division, announced a big bust today on Twitter: an alleged drug dealer was arrested with a .45 calibre handgun, more than 65 rounds of ammunition, cash, and 500g of cocaine. “Weston” he says is “safer”.

An idea


I would like to start air-quality and sound-level monitoring around Weston and Mount Dennis. My plan (it’s not much of a plan) is this:

  • I’ll write a grant proposal to get some Arduino-based monitors
    • Maybe I’ll get the grant
  • We’ll install them around town
  • We’ll collect, publicize, and analyze the data regularly on the blog.

I think this could be important work: we live near the busiest highway in Canada and an important train corridor. We could see how things are, and whether they are improving or worsening.

To get the grant, I need (among other things) a community partner. To make this work, we’ll also need some people who could check in on the little monitors and make sure they’re still plugged in and connected to the internet. Schools would be natural partners—but I’ve not yet found the local schools responsive.

That’s where you come in, dear reader:

  • Do you know any community partners?
  • Have any ins at the schools?

Weston Station Restaurant up for sale


Being of a cautious nature with a strong preservation instinct I have always resisted the temptation to wander into the Weston Station Restaurant for a meal or even a story. The building, at 1935 Weston Road in downtown Weston has had a checkered history but is now for sale and with that, the prospect of new ownership. Apparently there is 6600 square feet of floor space with 14 tenants upstairs (who knew?) and a restaurant and licensed bar downstairs.

The listing is on and can be yours for a dollar shy of $2 million.

My Cup Runneth Over


This disgusting sight seems to be a permanent fixture on Bellevue just behind some stores on Weston Road. The trash appears to be an accumulation of food waste and it routinely spills out and spreads over the surrounding area. Perhaps those responsible should pay a bit more and rent a larger dumpster. Either way, this is a health hazard as it encourages vermin such as rats. It also detracts from the neighbourhood being just steps from the large apartment building at number 5, the Farmers Market and the GO Train / UP Express.

Where’s the Stairs?

The construction site on September 15.

The Lions Park steps that were to have been constructed by September 2015 seem to have been delayed once more. This has meant either a tough climb or a long diversion for the many people who rely on this important pathway. The unsecured site has sat idle for weeks and it appears that the job has been abandoned. People have lost patience and the fitter ones simply walk through the site ignoring the fencing.

This is an important right of way that needs to be completed a.s.a.p. before the weather deteriorates.