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Southern facade of R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant.

The R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is both a crucial piece of infrastructure and an architecturally acclaimed historic building. It is located in the east of the city at the eastern end of Queen Street and at the foot of Victoria Park Avenue along the shore of Lake Ontario. It is located in the Beaches neighbourhood.

The plant was built between 1932 and 1941 and is named after the long time commissioner of Toronto's public works R.C. Harris. The building, unlike most modern engineering structures, was also created to make an architectural statement. Fashioned in the Art Deco style, the cathedral-like structure remains one of Toronto's most admired buildings. It is, however, little known to outsiders. The interiors are just as opulent with marble entryways and vast halls filled with pools of water and filtration equipment. The plant has thus earned the nickname The Palace of Purification.

Despite its age, the plant is still fully functional, providing approximately 45% of the water supply for Toronto and the Region of York. The intakes are located over 2.6 kilometres (1.6 mi) from shore in 15 metres (49 ft) of water, running through two pipes under the bed of the lake. Water is also chlorinated in the plant and then pumped to various reservoirs throughout the City of Toronto and the Region of York. In 1992, the plant was named a national historic civil engineering site by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering.

The facility grounds have been made available to the public. Despite some concerns of vulnerability to an attack on the water supply since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the grounds have remained open to the public, but security has been increased. In the summer of 2007, construction began on the installation of an underground Residual Management Facility allowing process waste to be removed before discharging into the lake. As a result of this project, the grounds are under heavy construction and are only partially publicly accessible.

Appearance in popular culture

The The R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant has been used in dozens of films and television series as a prison, clinic, or headquarters.

  • The Henry Ford Centre for the Criminally Insane, as seen in Robocop: The Series

External links

Coordinates: 43°40′24″N 79°16′44″W / 43.673222°N 79.278819°W / 43.673222; -79.278819

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