The Ontario Hydro – Niagara Parks Commission Floral Clock is located along the Niagara River Parkway just north of the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations.
The clock was inspired by the Ontario Hydro chairman, Dr. Richard L. Hearn. It was based on the famous 1903 clock located in the Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland. The clock is the largest of its kind in the world. It is three times the size of the clock in Scotland.
The clock was completed in 1950 and was Ontario Hydro’s floral show piece. The first clock face was unique in design as the letters of the words “Ontario Hydro” marked each the twelve numeral locations.
The clock is 12.2 metres in diameter with the face of the clock sloped at a 3:1 ratio. The planted area, consisting of more than 24,000 colourful carpet plants, is 11.6 metres wide. During the winter season, multi-coloured stones replace the flowers. A 3 m wide with a 26 m diameter water garden surrounds the clock.
The hands of the clock are made of three and a quarter inch and three and a half inch stainless steel tubing welded to stainless steel castings. They are counter-balanced in their short ends so that they require the same turning effort in all positions of their entire sweep. The hour hand is 4.4 m long and weighs 500 pounds. The minute hand is 5.3 m long and weighs 500 pounds. The second hand is 6.4 m long and weighs 250 pounds. This leads to a combined weight of 1,250 pounds for all three hands on this magnificent clock.
The clock mechanism runs in a bath of oil and is driven by a 2 horsepower, 3 phase squirrel cage motor. The rotor has been altered so that the motor now operates synchronized at 1,500 rotations per minute and an input of approximately 1,200 watts. The power requirement to operate this motor is 600 watts. The clock mechanism, hands, drive system and chimes were designed and built by Ontario Hydro staff.
Underneath the clock is a reinforced concrete bunker containing small three rooms. These rooms serve as spaces for different machinery to operate the clock, controls the clocks electrical supple and the look of the clock.
A stone tower, located at the rear of the clock, rises 7.3 m high. Only 3.5 m of the tower appears above the clock dial when viewed from the front. This tower contains 2 – 25 watt co-axial speakers for broadcasting the Westminster Chimes every hour and every quarter hour. The notes of the chimes are produced by miniature metallic rods being struck by a hammer actuated by contacts on the clock. The relatively low sound is amplified to a maximum of 100 watts.
Designs for the face of this clock are changed yearly. Designs are created a year in advance to allow for the proper preparations. The clock is stopped during the planting process. Tin dividers are built and installed to prevent soil slippage caused by the slope of the face of the clock.
Since 1977, the floral clock is displayed and maintained by the Niagara Parks Commission. Since the Niagara Parks began to maintain the clock, the wording now states Niagara Parks instead of the original text of Ontario Hydro.