Thursday, May 9, 2024

Chasing Windmills

In the book “Don Quixote” the protagonist attacks a windmill because he thinks it

A beautiful wind farm

is a fearsome monster. There is something pretty impressive about the modern windmills, properly called wind “Turbines” as they generate clean power from the wind, but they are no longer fearsome, just interesting. Regis always finds then fascinating and enjoys seeing them on our travels. She is fascinated by how impressive they look as they slowly spin in the wind. We will sometimes try to count how many wind turbines we see on distant hillsides as we drive by. 

We discovered on one of our walks that Toronto has a wind turbine down along the Lake Ontario waterfront, and Regis wanted to go see it, but we had already walked a long way by that time so decided to save the windmill for another day.

A fancy horse barn

On a warm spring day with sunshine and warm temperatures we decided to go down again and actually find the windmill for Regis. On our continued quest to master the TTC system we took a different route, using two different streetcars, one west and then another south to the Toronto Exhibition Grounds. We then walked through the Exhibition Grounds which contains some very interesting buildings and venues including the BMO field which hosts football and soccer games and is being prepared for games in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

We also discovered a little log cabin tucked away behind a fence that a plaque told us it was the oldest original house in Toronto, built in 1794. Although it was not open it was nice to see a historical building like this being preserved.

Scadding Cabin

And finally we did discover Regis’ windmill. We were pleasantly surprised to discover we could get right up to it and could stand right under the gently spinning blades of the wind turbine. Most of the big turbines on the wind farms you see around the country are in remote locations and protected by fences and locked gates, but here we could go right up to it. 

There it is!

Signs around the turbine give lots of information about wind power and turbines in general as well as specific information on this particular machine which we discovered is the first Urban Wind Turbine in North America. This is not surprising since there are many concerns about wind turbines being close to people. Fortunately this one is situated on the parklands of the exhibition grounds so no one lives close by. There will not be the NIMBY calls from people like Anne Murray when she objected to a proposed farm off Nova Scotia which she claimed would spoil her view from her expensive cottage. People will not be complaining that the apparent high pitched whine causes health issues. This turbine stands on its own away from the high density housing of downtown Toronto and I suspect it is mostly an attraction rather than a viable source of power for the city. 

And then the clouds moved in and we turned back into the city to find a place to shelter from the rain and get a bite to eat. 

Up close to a wind Turbine

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