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The “Line that brings light” checks Wawakapewin First Nation off its list

October 31, 2023 | By Anthony Capkun

In Anishiniiniimowin, “Wataynikaneyap” means “The line that brings light”

October 31, 2023 – Wataynikaneyap Power announced the energization of Wawakapewin First Nation, connecting that northern Ontario community to the provincial power grid.

Upon grid connection, the community turned off its diesel generators, which were the only source of primary power.

“This is a big day for our little community. Lack of reliable power meant not being able to grow. It limited the amount of community members who could stay in Wawakapewin all year long, instead of just seasonally. We are proud to majority-own this power system on the Homelands, bringing reliable power to First Nations,” said Chief Anne Marie Beardy.

Wawakapewin First Nation is located over 570 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The community is accessible by ice road in the winter season and by float plane in the summer.


Watay Power is majority-owned by an equal partnership of 24 First Nations (in partnership with Fortis Inc. and other private investors) to build and operate the 1800-km Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line—a $1.9-billion infrastructure project.

“Wawakapewin has struggled with their diesel generators and essential services the last 25 years,” said Margaret Kenequanash, CEO, Wataynikaneyap Power. “Many thought this wouldn’t be possible but, on August 16, Wawakapewin First Nation was connected. The people can go home now. Congratulations!”

The Watay Power transmission system connects the Wawakapewin community distribution system to the Ontario grid through a total of 635 kilometres of line and five substations, originating from its Dinorwic Substation. Wawakapewin will be served by Hydro One Remotes Communities Inc. (HORCI) for the local distribution of electricity.

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