Photo from Destination Castlegar Official Visitor Guide 2019

Explore these Castlegar-area dams

11 dams are located within a 55-kilometre drive

Castlegar is DAM interesting. Within a 55-kilometre drive, there are 11 dams on the Columbia, Kootenay and Pend d’Oreille rivers.

Here’s a list of dams and power facilities that can be easily accessed by car from Castlegar, listed by proximity to the city: Arrow Lakes, Keenleyside, Brilliant, South Slocan, Lower Bonnington, Bonnington Falls, Upper Bonnington, Corra Linn, Kootenay Canal, Seven Mile, and Waneta.

The closest ones for a convenient day trip are:

Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam

  • Located: Columbia River, 11.8 km northwest of Castlegar Completed: 1968
  • Owner: BC Hydro
  • Generating capacity: Storage facility only
  • Size: 52m high, 853m long
  • Description: Located on the Columbia River, 11.8 km upstream from downtown, the Keenleyside Dam is 52 m (171 feet) high and has a crest length of 853 m (2,800 feet), made of earth and concrete. It was completed in 1968 as part of the Columbia River Treaty and controls a drainage area of 36,519 sq.km, or 3.6 million hectares. The entire Arrow Lakes system extending 232 km north to Revelstoke is the dam’s storage reservoir.

The dam has the only navigational lock in Western Canada, which is available for public viewing from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. From the city’s downtown core, it’s an easy trip up Arrow Lakes Drive to the dam. There’s also a lookout off Broadwater Road on the other side of the river that provides visitors an excellent view of the dam’s superstructure. It was one of the most controversial dams ever created, as it resulted in the displacement of about 2,000 people in the Arrow Lakes valley.

Arrow Lakes Generating Station

  • Located: Columbia River, just below Keenleyside Dam Completed: 2002
  • Owner: Columbia Power
  • Generating capacity: 185 MW
  • Size: 73m high (13m above ground, 60m below)
  • Description: Used to generate power with the water stored by the Keenleyside Dam.

Brilliant Dam

  • Located: Highway 3A, Kootenay River, 8 km east of Castlegar Completed: 1944, the expansion added in 2007
  • Owner: Columbia Power
  • Generating capacity: 260 MW
  • Size: 42.6m high
  • Description: Constructed during the Second World War by mostly Doukhobor labourers, which allowed them to avoid conscription.

South Slocan Generating Station

  • Located: Kootenay River, West Kootenay Road, 24km northeast of Castlegar
  • Completed: 1928
  • Owner: FortisBC
  • Generating capacity: 57 MW
  • Description: A complex near the dam was constructed to house workers. Nearby was a recreation hall with badminton courts and a bowling alley.

Lower Bonnington Dam

  • Located: Highway 3A, Kootenay River, 26km northeast of Castlegar
  • Completed: 1897, rebuilt 1924
  • Owner: FortisBC
  • Generating capacity: 23 MW
  • Size: 18.2m high, 36.5m long
  • Description: The dam was originally built to supply the energy requirements of the Rossland mines.

To find out more about Castlegar visit the Castlegar & District Chamber of Commerce or Castlegar News.

Dream now, travel later. To plan for future adventures here and throughout the West Coast, visit westcoasttraveller.com

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