Greenpeace is sending its ice-breaker Arctic Sunrise to Toronto, calling attention to the pollution caused by coal energy as Ontario enters an election.

"Nuclear and coal power is dirty, dangerous and expensive," Canadian director Bruce Cox told CTV News on Tuesday.

The ship is expected to reach Toronto on Sept. 1, and will stay docked at the city for three days.

Greenpeace is using the ship to promote clean energy alternatives to coal and nuclear power. The public will be able to board the 49-metre ship once it arrives, and hear presentations by the crew.

A coal plant located on the north shore of Lake Erie is considered one of the worst industrial polluters in North America.

Its two smokestacks belch out chemicals that reach Toronto and other Ontario cities.

The Arctic Sunrise was reportedly travelling in the vicinity of the coal plant on Tuesday, prompting a security increase on Lake Erie.

But Cox said Greenpeace has no intention of breaking the law.

"Greenpeace is a committed, non-violent organization," he said. "We do, in fact, believe in peaceful civil disobedience, but also in opportunities to promote solutions."

In total, Ontario has four remaining coal-fired electrical stations. The Liberal government had promised to shut down the plants by 2007, but later extended that deadline to 2014.

According to a Greenpeace press release, the Arctic Sunrise has travelled to oil rigs in the North Sea, tracked illegal fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean, and even placed itself in the path of a U.S. Minuteman missile being tested in the Pacific Ocean.

The last time the ship campaigned in Canadian waters was 2005, to protest nuclear power in Quebec. But it hasn't docked in Toronto for a decade.

With a report from CTV's Paul Bliss