Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | January 8, 2020

Saunders Hydro Dam Construction

The photographs on this page were among 44 4″x5″ black and white images donated in December by John MacKay, Jr of Port Alberni, BC. The photographer was his father, John Dodds MacKay, taken when he was the Manager of the Mechanical Department for the Comstock Company in Ottawa.

J.D. entered the company from Halifax in 1946. having experience there in contracting, sales and design engineering. His first job with Comstock was as a mechanical estimator, then project engineer. He was responsible for the mechanical estimating and the training of estimators, figuring jobs amounting to several millions of dollars. Later he was made project engineer in Toronto and vicinity. In January of 1954 he was transferred to Ottawa as the manager of the Mechanical Department. This branch now carries all Comstock Company’s services, including electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation.

Later he worked on the St. Lawrence Power Project. John Jr was born in Cornwall on February 8 of 1956 when his dad was working on the dam as a mechanical engineer.

John Jr. recalls using some of these photos himself for school projects in the late 1960s while attending Public School in London, Ontario.

We are very pleased to incorporate these photographs into our extensive St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project collection.

There is a story that a dam worker checked himself into the hospital, complaining of double-vision. He spoke to John Sr. in the Cornwall office. A short time later on the New York State side of the dam, he ran into John’s brother who was visiting from Halifax. Not realizing that the brothers are identical twins, the worker was overwhelmed at the man’s apparent ability to be in two places simultaneously, thus prompting the hospital visit.


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