Bonnington Falls
Boundary Falls Brilliant Dam Cascade Corra Linn Cottonwood Creek Duncan Elko Goat River Granby Hugh Keenleyside Illecillewaet Kaslo Kootenay Canal Libby Lower Bonnington Mark Creek Mica Revelstoke Seven Mile Silversmith Powerhouse South Slocan Spillimacheen Upper Bonnington Walter Hardman Waneta Whatshan

  |   Dam Quick Select:

Lower Bonnington Dam


Lower Bonnington Dam
Completed: 1897, rebuilt 1924
Operator: West Kootenay Power and Light (FortisBC)
Type: Concrete gravity dam run of river


In operation in 1898, the Lower Bonnington Power Plant provided electricity to the mines in Rossland 51 km. (32 miles) away via a pioneering transmission line. At the time, this was the longest and highest voltage transmission line in North America.

The original powerline poles were covered with small cedar roofs - as the effect of the snow on the 20,000-volt lines and insulators was then unknown. The roofs proved to be unnecessary but provided housing for some birds until they were removed.

The first surveys for the plant began in 1897 and construction started in July of that year. The original plant consisted of a granite foundation, brick walls and a wood and steel-roofed powerhouse with room for three generators. The dam, located on the north side of the river was 18.2 m (60 ft) long and connected to a wing dam that channeled the water that was 36.5 m (120 ft) of concrete. It was demolished in 1923, to make way for a new plant with improved technology.

The new plant was in operation on August 1, 1925, with a third generating unit online a year later. A new crib dam at the site increased the operating head to 21 m. (70 ft.) and new turbines and generators increased the generating capacity.

View Dam Image Gallery
Lower Bonnington Dam Video
Lower Bonnington Dam
Lower Bonnington Dam

Watch this Video - Flash
Watch this Video - Quicktime