“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Niagara Falls in Niagara Region, Ontario — Central Canada

Floral Clock


Floral Clock Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 15, 2014
1. Floral Clock Marker
Inscription. The Floral Clock at Queenston was built by Ontario Hydro in 1950. The idea to build the attraction came from Dr. Richard Lankaster Heam, Hydro’s General Manager and Chief Engineer at the time. While preparing for a business trip to England, Mr. Hearn was encouraged by Hugh Duncan — a Scotsman who was maintenance electrician foreman at the Queenston Generating Station — to visit the floral clock in the Princes’ Street Gardens in Edinburgh. Dr. Heam did as Duncan suggested and he was very impressed by the beauty of the clock and by its practical value as an attraction.

Following his trip to Scotland, Dr. Heam commissioned Hydro’s Niagara Regional staff to design and construct a floral dock in keeping with the surroundings at the Queenston station. A “Hydro News” article describing plans for the construction of the attraction, credits Pat Ryan and Walter Ewart as the clock’s designers. Hugh Duncan supervised construction of the attraction and was in charge of the mechanical and electrical installation work. (Dr. Hearn later served as Chairman at Ontario Hydro).

The Edinburgh clock, built in 1903 is roughly 10 feet in diameter. In comparison, the Floral Clock is 40 feet wide, with a planted area 38 feet wide, making it one of the largest such clocks in the world. Each year, the face of the clock
Floral Clock Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 15, 2014
2. Floral Clock Marker
is filled with 15,000 to 20,000 carpet plants and colourful annuals, planted in unique, intricate designs. Since 1977 the Niagara Parks Commission Horticulture Department (now Parks Department) have been responsible for designing and planting the face of the Clock and a site maintenance worker regularly checks the official time to ensure the Clock’s accuracy.

The hands of the clock are stainless steel tubing: the hour hand is 14.5', the minute hand is 17.5' and the second hand is 21' long. Their combined weight is 1,250 pounds. An ivy-clad, louvered stone tower stands 24' tall and contains speakers that every quarter hour broadcast Westminster chimes. Under the clock, accessed by a door at the rear of the tower, the concrete foundation includes three small rooms - one for the clock mechanism and it's driving motor, one contains switches to supply the electrical power, and one stores the tools required for maintaining the floral face. The clock mechanism runs in a bath of oil. The mechanical workings are driven by a 5 HP DC motor supplied from a DC drive. A tachometer is mounted on the motor shaft and provides feedback of the drive to control its accuracy.

The Westminster chimes are controlled by a programmable logic controller. The sounds are simulated and are broadcast through 2-25 watt co-axial speakers mounted in the bell tower.

An attractive
Floral Clock image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 15, 2014
3. Floral Clock
feature is the 10-foot wide water garden that curves 85 feet around the base of the timepiece. It is a popular wishing pond and coins that are collected when it is cleaned each fall are donated to local charities.

The Floral Clock is located beside Sir Adam Beck Generating Station No. 1 and its mechanics are still maintained by the staff of Ontario Power Generation (the successor to Ontario Hydro). Parking, washrooms and a small gift shop are provided for the convenience of the thousands of visitors who stop here each year. This floral showpiece has become one of the most photographed attractions in the Niagara Parks.

The Floral Clock is one of the many sites operated by the Niagara Parks Commission, an agency of the Government of Ontario. Their mission is to preserve and protect the natural and cultural heritage along the Niagara River for the enjoyment of visitors. They have been doing so without the use of tax dollars since 1885.

For more information please visit
Erected by Niagara Parks.
Location. 43° 8.97′ N, 79° 2.845′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Niagara Region. Marker is on Niagara Parkway north of the Botanical Gardens, on the left when
Floral Clock and Power Lines image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, October 15, 2014
4. Floral Clock and Power Lines
traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14004 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 6T8, Canada.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Southern Terminus of The Bruce Trail (approx. one kilometer away); Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant Turbine (approx. 1.2 kilometers away in the U.S.); Fighting for Homeland (approx. 1.2 kilometers away in the U.S.); 1. Attack (approx. 1.2 kilometers away); Fort Drummond (approx. 1.2 kilometers away); 2. The Treacherous River Cliff (approx. 1.2 kilometers away); Laura Ingersoll Secord (approx. 1.2 kilometers away); The Battle of Queenston Heights (approx. 1.2 kilometers away).
Categories. Horticulture & ForestryIndustry & Commerce
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 169 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photos of clock in nicer weather • Different clock face design photos • Can you help?
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