Niagara Parks Commission
Ontario Power Commission

Floral Clock

 

 

The Floral Clock

The Floral Clock

 

 

The Ontario Power Generation (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 then Ontario Hydro chairman, Dr. Richard L. Hearn and was based on the famous clock built in Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1903. Dr. Hearn had seen this clock at the Princess Street gardens during a business trip.

The clock is the largest type 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. Rather than using numerals, the letters of the words "Ontario Hydro" marked each the twelve numeral locations.

 

 


The Floral Clock schematic

 

 

 

 

The clock is 40 feet (12.2m) in diameter and has a planted area of 38 feet (11.5m) in diameter consisting of more than 24,000 colourful carpet plants. During the winter multi-coloured stones replace the flowers. A 10 foot (3.05m) wide by 85 foot (25.9m) diameter water garden surrounds the clock. The face of the clock is sloped at a 3:1 ratio.

The hands of the clock are made of 3" and 3" stainless steel tubing telescoped into each other and 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 14.6 feet (4.4m) long and weighs 500 pounds. The minute hand is 17.6 feet (5.3m) long and weighs 500 pounds.  They have a combined weight of 1000 pounds. The second hand is 21 feet (6.4m) long and weighs 250 pounds.

 

 

 

 

The clock mechanism runs in a bath of oil and is driven by a 2 horsepower (hp), 3 phase squirrel cage motor, the rotor of which has been altered in such a way that the motor now operates as synchronized at 1,500 rotations per minute (rpm) up to 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 three rooms, each being 9 feet (2.7m) by 10 feet (3m)  in diameter and 8 feet (2.5m) in height. This space serves to house the clock mechanism and the electrical equipment. A stone tower located at the rear of the clock rises 24 feet (7.3m) in height. Only 12 feet (3.5m) of the tower appears above the clock dial when viewed from the front.

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the louvered opening in the tower are four - 25 watt co-axial speakers which broadcast the Westminster Chimes on every hour and 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. This method of producing chimes is less expensive and more versatile than the use of bells.

 

 

 

 

The time on the floral clock is checked daily to ensure accuracy.

Designs for the face of this clock are changed seasonally and yearly. Designs are created a year in advance to allow for the proper preparations. Tin dividers are built and installed to prevent soil slippage caused by the slope of the face of the clock. The clock is stopped during the planting process. A specially designed aluminum ladder is used for workers to install the plants.

Since 1977, the floral clock has been displayed and maintained by the Niagara Parks Commission.  The Niagara Parks Commission rather than using numerals, use the letters of the words "Niagara Parks" to mark each the twelve numeral locations.

 

 


The Floral Clock Mechanism

 

 

Technical Data


 

Mechanism

The clock mechanism runs in a bath of oil and is driven by 2 hp-three-phase squirrel cage motor. The rotor of which has been altered in such a way that the motor now operates as a synchronous motor at 1500 RPM up to an input of approximately 1200 Watts. The clock mechanism, hands, drive, chime system, etc. were all designed by Ontario Hydro staff at Niagara Falls and fabricated in its own local shops.



Structural Details

Underneath the clock, there is located a reinforced concrete structure comprising three rooms, each of approximately 9' x 10' x 8' 6 inches high. The space serves to house the clock mechanism and electrical equipment. A stone tower is located at the rear of the clock in conjunction with the three rooms mentioned, rises to a height of 24 feet. Only 12 feet of the tower appears above the dial when viewed from the front.
 


Chimes

Behind the louvered openings in the tower, four 25 Watt coaxial speakers are installed which broadcast the Westminster chimes on the four quarters as well as strike on the hour. The notes of the chimes are produced by miniature metallic rods being struck by small hammers actuated electrically by contacts on the clock. This relatively low initial sound is amplified to a peak power output of 100 Watts to drive the speakers. This method of producing chimes has advantages over the use of full-scale bells in that the same amplifying equipment with small additional expense can be used at a later date to produced carillon music or recorded concert programs.

 



Clock Dial

Overall the clock face diameter is 40 feet in diameter. The planted area diameter equals 38 feet with a slope ratio that equals 3:1
 



Plants


The summer designs in general are made up of approximately 24,000 carpet plants plants whose foliage rather than their blooms provide the necessary contrasting colors. Flowering plants are not suitable for summer planting because the plants that are used must be kept trimmed to form relatively sharp contrasting patterns and not be allowed to grow up and interfere with the movement of the hands. For this reason reddish, green and yellow Alternanthera, plus Santolina in similar plans serve to form the background and markings of the various dial designs from year-to-year. In winter, the summer design is perpetuated by using rock chips of various colors to replace the plants. Spring designs are made up with tulips, forget-me-nots or similar plants, therefore, do not last long.
 



Clock Hands


Hour hand weighs = 500 pounds - total length: 14'6"
Minute hand weighs= 500 pounds - total length 17'6"
Sweep second hand weighs = 250 pounds - total length 21 feet

All the hands are constructed of 3 inch and 3 1/2 inch diameter stainless steel tubing telescoped into each other and welded to stainless steel castings. They are counterbalanced in their short ends so that they require the same turning effort in all positions of their sweeps.

 

 

The Floral Clock Plaque

 



Aquarium


The large pond is approximately 85 feet long by 10 feet wide, which curves around the front of the clock is used as in aquarium and water gardens

 

 

The Floral Clock

The Floral Clock

 

 



 

 

 

 NIAGARA FALLS THUNDER ALLEY NAVIGATOR


INFORMATION INDEX


 


HISTORICAL ARCHIVE

 


PICTURES & SLIDESHOWS

 

SITE MAP

 

Date last updated: February 20, 2012
 

 



 

 

The following locations and facts about them are but a few of many famous sites & attractions to be found in Niagara Falls. The best of it is FREE to see...so think of Niagara Falls when planning your next vacation. If you have questions of a current or historical nature about the Niagara Falls area or suggestions feel free to e-mail Rick at

niagarahistory@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU FOR VISITING

the

 

Ontario Power Generation/Niagara Parks Commission
FLORAL CLOCK

 

PAGE