21
Aug
09

Art and the Toronto Power Plant

 

Toronto Power Plant partially dismantled.

Toronto Power Plant partially dismantled.

My wife, Chris, and I were heading to Rodgers’ Flea Market earlier this summer and as we were driving through Toronto, Ohio, I noticed that the old power plant was being dismantaled. I reflected on the many hours that I spent fishing next to that plant when I was a teenager. And then my mind raced back to my earlier childhood when my grandfater, Joseph Batcho, worked at that power plant. Both my grandfather and that now defunct plant would actually play a role in my life as an artist.

I was about five years of age when “Grandpap” (as I referred to him back then), would bring me home tablets of paper printed with a quarter-inch light blue grid. For much of my early childhood, these gridded sheets of paper would be my most often used surface upon which to draw. In those days the only opportunity I had to use a drawing surface  that did not contain lines or a grid was when Grandpap got a new shirt. Inside each of those shirts was inserted a piece of white card stock, and I treated those sheets like gold. No lines! Wow! I believe it was not until grade school, at age six, that we were given sheets of blank, cream-colored paper with what seemed like little chunks of real wood still in it. That paper was so dry and brittle that it easily tore with the slightest wrong move.

I was nine years old when my Aunt Mary gave me a set of pastel pencils and my first real sketchbook for Christmas. It only had eight pages, but oh, that paper was thick…. and line free! Still, whenever I see a sheet of gridded paper I think of my grandfather, the old power plant, and me, laying across the living room floor drawing on those pads of blue lined paper.

1920's era postcard of the power plant in the the north end of Toronto, Ohio.

1930's era postcard of the power plant in the the north end of Toronto, Ohio.

PS  To see some video of the dismantling of the power plant,click here: Toronto Power Plant

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3 Responses to “Art and the Toronto Power Plant”


  1. 1 Cheryl
    August 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    What a lovely memory! Excellent writing too btw.

  2. 2 CynDe
    February 28, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Thanks for linking to my video channel showing the dismantling of the Toronto Ohio Edison Plant. My dad worked there for thirty-five years and I grew up in the “Power Plant Houses”. I enjoyed reading your memories.


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