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Aberfeldie Dam


Aberfeldie Dam
Completed: 1922, rebuilt 1953
Operator: BC Hydro
Type: Run of the River gravity dam


Plans for a dam on the Bull River began as early as 1897 when Joseph Hooker applied for water rights encompassing the canyon and falls. The rights were acquired by George Henderson who in 1903, formed the Bull River Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd. The plan was to supplement the investment capital with gold recovered from the riverbed. A flume a mile above the falls diverted the water past the canyon. The flume was also used to transport logs around the canyon.

In 1920, the flume and water rights were sold to the British Columbia and Alberta Power Company Ltd, which sold power to the coal mining operations in the Crows Nest area. Construction of the dam and powerhouse began in the fall of 1920. The penstock followed the foundation of the old flume from the new dam 2,542 m (8340 ft) to the powerhouse built at the base of the rock cliff, at the outlet of the canyon. The first generator went online in April of 1922. By May it was supplying power to Fernie.

The official name of the dam was changed to the Aberfeldie Dam in 1923 when the president of the company, Mr. A.E. Appleyard decided that the name Bull River did not have the presence that he felt the dam deserved. He renamed the plant after a region in Scotland that he had visited and had impressed him.

In 1953, a new dam was constructed that was 27 m (90 ft) tall and 134 m (440 ft) long. In 1959, operations at the plant were automated.

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Aberfeldie Dam
Aberfeldie Dam

The Aberfeldie Dam from above.
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