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Hydroelectricity and the Engineering of Northern Ontario

Jean L. Manore

Publication Year: 1999

Most activities in our lives involve electricity. Yet, how often do we recall that even the simple act of turning on a light is supported by a long history of debates over group vs. individual rights, environmental impact, political agendas and technological innovations?

Using the image of cross-currents as the organizing metaphor, this book details the many and often turbulent interactions and interconnections that occurred among the various people and events during the building of the northeastern Ontario hydroelectric system. Special focus is on Native and non-Native interests; southern business and political elites; northern natural resources and the interactions between technology and the environment.

Manore concentrates on the co-operation that existed among the various interest groups during periods of expansion and amalgamation. In today’s environment of limited energy resources, respect for the rights of First Nations and ecological concerns, this book is a reminder that co-operation rather than conquest is a more realistic approach to development.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press


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pp. iii

List of Maps

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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

... conditions or the effects of such development on First Nations. In many of these studies, the metaphor used to conceptualize the process of development connotes images of conquest and control. Examining hydroelectric development, as it occurred in northeastern Ontario, sheds a new and different light on the history of technology and development in Canada. ...

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pp. 1-10

... to the history of development in Canada and elsewhere cannot be overestimated. Industrial-based technological systems have been and continue to be tangible (sometimes brutal) links between the natural environment and society, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples and the metropole and the hinterland. The history of hydroelectric development ...

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CHAPTER ONE: The Rites of Development

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pp. 11-38

...largely unknown and unknowable; mysterious entities located somewhere ‘‘up there’’ or on the reverse side of the Ontario road map. While some people might have received descriptive snippets of information about the rivers from friends, family and the media, these vicarious experiences of the northern rivers have often left the impression that ...

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CHAPTER TWO: Mining and Northern Canada Power, 1900-1930

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pp. 39-66

... all obstacles to hydroelectric development on the Mattagami River. System designers next had to develop technological strategies to overcome environmental obstacles and then to meet increased demands for electricity from the booming gold and silver mining industry in the Timmins and Cobalt areas. By 1914, Hollinger Consolidated, the Dome, and ...

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CHAPTER THREE: Dual Systems: Public and Private

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pp. 67-94

... into Northern Ontario signified a new stage in the development of hydroelectricity in Northern Ontario, for A.J. Nesbitt believing in empire building, sought to monopolize the power supply across northern Canada. Also, the Nesbitt Thomson Corporation already owned several generating stations in Quebec and planned to link them to ...

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CHAPTER FOUR: Resolution: A Single Power System, 1933-1945

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pp. 95-124

... northeastern Ontario at the expense of Nesbitt Thomson and other power producers. The HEPCO’s northern and southern systems remained separate but, as will be shown, amalgamation did eventually occur after World War II, as a result of power shortages in both the northeast and southern Ontario systems. During this time period, two common ...

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CHAPTER FIVE: Power, Finance and Regional Amalgamation

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pp. 125-144

... of northeastern Ontario and the power companies was a troubled one. Of all the northeastern industrial interests, the mining companies were the most dependent on the power companies for their particular product. Although they did have their own sources of energy supply and generation, these supplies were not sufficient to satisfy their needs. ...

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CHAPTER SIX: Co-operation

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pp. 145-164

... held the view that nature is the seminal example of the ‘‘survival of the fittest’’ paradigm in which hierarchy, dominance, competition and control are the chief characteristics determining relationships between and within species. Today, various scholars, from feminists to chaoticians to ecologists, are challenging that view with increasing frequency. For ...

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CONCLUSION: The Cross-Currents of Development

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pp. 165-172

... specifically and industrial development generally. While it is tempting, and even preferable at times, to conceptualize development within models both rigid and static like the hydroelectric dams themselves, and while it is also tempting to view development in terms of power relationships with the power resting largely with the developers, yet placing the ...

Glossary of Terms

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pp. 173-174


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pp. 175-196


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pp. 197-206


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pp. 207-209

E-ISBN-13: 9780889207141
Print-ISBN-13: 9780889203174
Print-ISBN-10: 0889203172

Page Count: 223
Publication Year: 1999