“The continued operation of the Whirlpool Aero Car is a living testament to the brilliance and foresight of its original Spanish designer.”
News from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission
August 8th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Niagara Falls, Ontario – The Niagara Parks Commission, along with representatives of the Spanish Government, as well as family members of renowned Spanish designer and engineer, Leonardo Torres Quevedo, gathered today to unveil a plaque, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Whirlpool Aero Car.
The continued operation of the Whirlpool Aero Car is a living testament to the brilliance and foresight of its original Spanish designer, engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo. The commemorative plaque that was unveiled was designed and created in Spain by the Regional Government of Cantabria, the Spanish City of Santander and the MilVelas Association.
The celebrations, which were conducted at the Aero Car site, featured remarks provided by NPC Chair Janice Thomson and His Excellency, Carlos Gómez-Múgica Sanz, the Spanish Ambassador to Canada. The ceremony also included members of the Torres Quevedo family, who made a special trip from Spain to attend the anniversary celebrations.
According to NPC Chair, Janice Thomson, “this morning’s celebrations have allowed us to properly mark an important milestone in the history of the Niagara Parks Commission, all while recognizing the accomplishments and paying tribute to Leonardo Torres Quevedo, who through his work made a lasting impression on both the engineering profession and the tourism industry here in Niagara.”
“Congratulations to The Niagara Parks Commission on the 100th anniversary of the Whirlpool Aero Car,” stated Jim Bradley, the Member of Provincial Parliament for St. Catharines, during the event. Representing the Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Mr. Bradley went on to add, “This milestone is a reminder of the value and appeal of this historic attraction, which continues to draw visitors from far and wide to witness the beauty and splendour of Niagara Falls.”
In 1913 The Niagara Parks Commission accepted a proposal by a consortium of Spanish businessmen, the Niagara Spanish Aerocar Company, who were interested in building a cable car tourism attraction across the Whirlpool. Their design for a “to and fro” cable car that would be suspended from a system of cables and powered by a 75 horsepower motor was approved over a competing idea which would have started at the top of Colt’s Point and deposited visitors at the base of Thompson’s Point.
Although it was an arduous and difficult project to complete, once the Niagara Spanish Aero Car opened in August 1916 it ushered in 100 years of technical progress and engineering mastery in the guise of this novel tourism attraction.
Over the past 100 years this engineering marvel has required surprisingly little mechanical intervention or major changes, a testament to its excellent original design and construction.
The Aero Car has tremendous historic significance and represents both engineering and tourism development in Niagara. The attraction welcomes approximately 125,000 visitors per year and has been operated by The Niagara Parks Commission since 1968. The existence of this attraction has greatly expanded the general awareness of, and access to, views of the Whirlpool and class six rapids in the Niagara River, since 1916.
The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) is committed to a vision of Ontario’s Niagara Parks as one that Preserves a rich heritage, Conserves natural wonders, and Inspires people world-wide. Founded in 1885, The Niagara Parks Commission is an Operational Enterprise Agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Its mission is to protect the natural and cultural heritage along the Niagara River for the enjoyment of visitors while maintaining financial self-sufficiency
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