A Brief History
of the
Old Pinawa Dam Heritage Park


-- Part IV --

The Pinawa Generating station

Power was transmitted to Winnipeg from the Pinawa plant of the Winnipeg Electric Company for the first time on June 9, 1906

Initially, the dam produced 18,643 kW of power. Many people thought that Winnipeg would never use that amount of electricity, but by 1916, ten years after the dam started, Winnipeg's population had quadrupled. This was the greatest period of expansion in Winnipeg's history. To increase the power, the height of the water in the forebay was raised and the generating capacity was increased to 22,371 kW with a peak power of 27,964 kW.

The spillway before the water level in the forebay was raised
The spillway before the water level in the forebay was raised

The forebay dike and retaining walls had to be raised to hold back the higher water level
The forebay dike and retaining walls were
raised to hold back the higher water level

The Spillway and Spillway House, after the water level was raised
The Spillway and Spillway House, after the water level was increased

Because the water level in the forebay was raised, the height of the Spillway had to be increased as well. Vertical columns were added and squared stoplogs slid into channels between them. The logs could be raised into the Spillway House in times of high water to let the water escape.

View from the south showing the Spillway and Spillway house
View from the south showing the Spillway and Spillway house
View from the south showing the Spillway and Spillway house, the Gate House on top of the dam and the Powerhouse in front of the dam. There is no water coming over the spillway, indicating the water is at normal levels.

Forebay, Trash Rack, Log Boom and Spillway
Forebay, Trash Rack, Log Boom and Spillway
This view of the Forebay shows the spillway on the top right (the edge of the water) before it was raised. In the middle is a log boom to keep large floating objects away from the dam. On the left side is the Trash Rack, shown as a series of angled lines. The Trash Rack was attached to the dam and was positioned at a 45 degree angle to filter out smaller debris that could damage the turbines.

During winter, a crew in a boat maintained a six-foot wide ice-free path to prevent ice damageing or buckling the screen. Once the ice was broken, it was pushed down the chute.

South End of the Generating Station in 1908
South End of the Generating Station in 1908

Top of Main Dam showing Headgate Stems & Winches
Top of Main Dam showing Headgate Stems & Winches - 1908
The winches raised and lowered stop logs on the forebay side of the dam, to control water getting into the penstocks with the Francis Turbines.

Inside the Powerhouse showing the Switchboard, the exciters (below) and a generator (right)
Inside the Powerhouse showing the Switchboard,
the exciters (below) and a generator (right)

Inside the Pinawa Generating Station
Inside the Pinawa Generating Station

Powerhouse and Transformer Building
Powerhouse and Transformer Building

The Powerhouse and Tailrace in winter
The Powerhouse and Tailrace in winter

South side of the Powerhouse in a high-water year
South side of the Powerhouse in a high-water year
The spillway is on the left, out of this picture




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Last Updated February 16, 2006

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