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Hayes Dana Canada
TSP Canada Towers

On the outskirts of Thorold, next to the Welland Canal, stands a large monument to the manufacturing heyday of Niagara Region. Once the longtime home of Hayes Dana Limited's automotive components, employing upwards of 2400 workers, the plant has sat mostly idle since 2007, when Hayes Dana pulled out of the region, shuttering the last of the assembly lines. It did see a brief respite as the home of China-based TSP Canada Towers from 2016 to 2015, and has been idled since then.

Location attributes for Hayes Dana Canada
(Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada)
Built :: Closed   Status   Difficulty
1968 :: 2015   Partially Demolished   ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   Security Risk   AUE Rating
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆   ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hazard Observations   Security Observations
Fire Damage   Security Patrols

The plant has been on my radar for some time now, having first caught my eye back when I was poking around the Thorold region in 2016. Zen and I made an attempt on the plant back then, only to discover as we were making our way into the plant that there were workers on site, forcing us to make an extremely hasty exit back off the property before we were caught. After that, I never quite found the time to make my way back to the area to check out the plant

With our original plans for a mine exploring trip scuttled due to unforseen circumstances, Brind and I set our sights on the idled plant instead. Skye Ann also joined us for the trip, and we quickly made our way into the plant. I noted that the security gatehouse, which had prominently stood at the entrance back in 2016, had been razed and there were no signs of activity on the ground. I also noted that the nearby Georgia Pacific plant, dating back to the 1920's, had also been demolished, and I cursed myself for not having returned to the area sooner.

We quickly went off on our own ways once inside; I opted to head to some of the better lit areas right off the bat in hopes of finding some interesting shots. The twin overhead cranes revealed themselves to me not long after, rewarding me for my plan.

While poking around in the office area, we noted the heavy fire damage. Our best guess was that this was related to squatters; there was a fair amount of evidence of their activity in the plant with numerous mattresses scattered about. We also guessed that the fire had been relatively recent based on the fact you could still smell the fire in the air, having possibly over the 2021-2022 winter months; subsequent research showed that the fire actually occurred on September 6, 2020, although there was no mention of the cause.

Further scouring of the grounds turned up copies of internal investigation reports detailing several near-miss incidents during the TSP Canada Towers days. As someone who holds workplace safety in high regard and has been involved in a number of safety-related investigations, I found the reports highly interesting to review. It's worth noting that TSP Canada Towers had been fined several times by the Ministry of Labour for critical injuries during their few years of operation; including one fatality where a worker was crushed between two tower segments that were moving.

Unfortunatetly, our time in the plant was cut short not long after discovering the investigation reports; Brind had stepped out briefly and encountered security making rounds on the property, having already spotted our vehicles. It was briefly mentioned to Brind that the plant had new owners (hence the security), and that it was time for us to move on. A quick call from Brind told us that it was time to go, and we quickly made our leave, having seen about 66% of what the plant had to offer.

And while there were a few other areas that I wish I had seen, I still count this one as a success, having spent a few hours poking around the insides of the manufacturing monument.

Stalled Motion - July 2022
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