The Canadian Niagara Power Company Story


318 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55046-462-0
DDC 333.79'32'06071338




Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of


Norman Ball has written what is essentially a company history, but it
should also appeal to readers interested in Canadian economic and
technological history as well as in Canada–U.S. relations. An American
company with a Canadian president had the idea and the capital to
develop electricity in the late 19th century, when Ontario needed both
the money and the energy. This book tells the story of the intentions
and achievements of the founders, as well as the difficulties that they

Among the events covered are more than a century of activities: the
role of employees at the front and elsewhere during World Wars I and II,
the lives of employees on and off the job, the connection between
electricity and Shredded Wheat, the difficulties of dealing with
unscrupulous customers who tried to prevent meter readers from
confirming that they were using as little electricity as they claimed to
be using, the transition from 25 cycles to 60 cycles, and the ice storm
of 1976. An excellent map near the beginning shows the area served, and
a precious collection of historical black-and-white pictures is
scattered throughout the text. The book is printed on high-quality

Electricity is vital to Canadian life, and Ball deserves praise for
telling the story of one of its first suppliers. One hopes that others
will follow his lead and write about the expansion of electrical power
into the remote regions of Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan.


Ball, Norman R., “The Canadian Niagara Power Company Story,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,