Construction of the Pinawa Generating Station in the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet, by the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company, began in 1903 and was completed in 1906 at a cost of three million dollars. The first hydroelectric plant on the Winnipeg River, and the second in Manitoba, it led to the full utilization of the hydro power potential of the river. The last generator was removed in 1951, at which point the river flow was diverted to the Seven Sisters Generating Station. Of the approximately twenty homes located nearby, those of wooden construction were moved to Great Falls and the brick ones were abandoned.
Two plaques have been placed on the downstream face of the spillway near the public walkway along the east side of the powerhouse to commemorate the significant engineering acheivements accomplished with the planning, construction and operation of the Pinawa Generating Station. APEGM recognized the project on 31 August 1987 on the occasion of the centenary of the Engineering profession in Canada. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recognized the project in June 2008.
Aerial view of the former Pinawa Hydroelectric Power Dam (1987)
Source: George Penner
The former Pinawa Hydroelectric Power Dam (September 2013)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough
APEGM Pinawa Dam Heritage Plaque (2010)
Source: Glen Cook
IEEE Pinawa Dam Heritage Plaque (2010)
Source: Glen Cook
Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.21525, W95.92510
denoted by symbol on the map above
Old Pinawa by Helen Pollitt Smith
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 21, Number 3, Spring 1976.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pinawa Channel (Winnipeg River, LGD of Pinawa)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Erickson Cabin (RM of Lac du Bonnet)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pinawa School No. 1627 (Old Pinawa, RM of Lac du Bonnet)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Little Saskatchewan River Generating Station / Hydroelectric Power Dam (RM of Whitehead)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pointe du Bois Generating Station (Pointe du Bois, Whiteshell Provincial Park)
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Slave Falls Generating Station (Whiteshell Provincial Park)
Manitoba Business: Winnipeg Electric Railway Company / Winnipeg Electric Company
“Manitoba’s first power plant being demolished,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 May 1954, page 6.
We thank Nathan Kramer and George Penner for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 March 2020
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