Atom Egoyan (film director, writer and producer)

R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant

Whenever I have visitors to Toronto, I take them to the Harris Filtration Plant. This beautiful complex is one of the few remaining examples of industrial art deco design that has survived to this day, and its location on Lake Ontario makes it truly unique. It has been written about with great detail in Michael Ondaatje’s magnificent novel, In the Skin of a Lion, and has been used in many film shoots, but nothing comes close to the feeling of walking through the gorgeous space and sitting on one of the benches at the top of the hill, overlooking the water.

What many people don’t realize is that this plant still produces half of Toronto’s water needs and is fully functioning, even though it’s 75 years old. It takes in the water from a massive pipe 2.6 kilometres from the shore, deep in the lake. When I’m sitting on that bench staring out over the water, there’s something very powerful in thinking about this majestic building as being a very lifeline of this great city.

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