In a short but impressive display, Mississauga's Lakeview Generating Station was brought down by explosives late Thursday morning after standing as a lakefront fixture for 44 years.

Demolition of the defunct coal-fired power plant had been delayed several times this week due to wind and weather conditions, but crews were given the green light to level the structure at about 11 a.m.

The demolition took less than one minute to complete, bringing the building down in on itself from east to west.

The impact sent a cloud of dust into the air, but the surrounding area had been secured prior to detonation.

Last June the plant's four smokestacks, known as "The Four Sisters," were brought down with timed explosives in front of hundreds of spectators at the site just west of Toronto.

The 500-foot smokestacks were a landmark that helped mariners and pilots navigate their way around Toronto. They came down in about 20 seconds.

The smokestacks and plant were purposely demolished because they were labelled a heavy polluter by the Ontario government.

Ontario Power Generation is exploring the possibility of building a cleaner, gas-fired station on the 52-hectare site.

Buildings and structures will be removed from the site as part of a project estimated at $17 million.

The Lakeview plant was closed by the Ontario government in 2005 in an effort to reduce emissions. At a press conference earlier this month, Premier Dalton McGuinty said his government expects to close all coal-fired stations by 2014.

"By 2030 there will be about 1,000 more new coal-fired generating stations built on this planet," he said. "There is only one place in the world that is phasing out coal-fired generation and we're doing that right here in Ontario."

The Lakeview station had been operating for 42 years and at one point was the largest coal-fired plant in the world.

During its life, the plant generated 215 billion kWh of electricity. By 2005 usage standards, that much power could sustain all of Ontario for one and a half years.

Some facts about the Lakeview Generating Station:

  • When it was built in 1962 it was considered the largest coal-fired station in the world (2,400 megawatts);
  • The plant, built on 52 hectares, cost $274 million;
  • During the 1970s, when all units were operating, the station employed 430 regular staff;
  • When operating as a baseload station in the 1970s, it could supply 17 per cent of Ontario's electricity needs;
  • Operation in the 1990s was reduced to a four-unit peaking plant (from eight); and
  • During its operating life, the station has generated more than 215 billion kWh of electricity -- enough to supply all of Ontario's energy needs for about 1 1/2 years based on 2005 consumption.