W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre

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Peace River vital to powering B.C.

In northeast British Columbia, near the town of Hudson's Hope, is Williston Lake, pictured above, the largest reservoir in the province. The Peace River flows out of the eastern edge of Williston through the Peace River Canyon.

BC Hydro's Peace Canyon project includes the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and the associated Gordon M. Shrum Generating Station, and the Peace Canyon Dam, 23 kilometres downstream, which reuses water that has already generated electricity.

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre overlooks Williston Lake.

For details about the area, follow the links below:

Access and directions

Need directions? View a map of BC Hydro recreation areas and get specific directions to the W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre, 21 kilometres west of Hudson's Hope, and near Williston Lake and the Peace Canyon Dam Visitor Centre.

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Visitor information

The Visitor Centre, overlooking Williston Lake Reservoir, offers a wide range of exhibits and an audio-visual theatre.

Located 20 kilometres west of Hudson's Hope.

Guided tours of the dam and powerhouse are available at regular intervals throughout the day.

Hours, admission fees and contact info

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre is now closed for the season and will reopen on the Victoria Day long weekend in May 2014. Please contact us for more information or for group bookings for our 2014 season.

Admission fees

  • Adults: $6
  • Seniors and Youth (6 to 17): $5
  • Families (2 adults + 2 youth): $15
  • Children 5 and under: free

Contact information

For further information, please call 1 888 333 6667 or 250 783 5048.

Or email: bennett@bchydro.com.

History and hydroelectric operation

The Peace Canyon project is the second hydroelectric development to harness the turbulent water of the Peace River, which plunges from the Rocky Mountain Trench to the Mackenzie River system, and the Arctic Ocean.

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam at the head of the Peace River Canyon, is key to the multiple uses of Peace River water for power generation. Completed in 1967, it is one of the world's largest earthfill structures, stretching 2 km (1.25 miles) across the head of the canyon and measuring 183 m (600 feet) in height. Behind the dam is British Columbia's largest reservoir, Williston Lake, which covers an area of 166,000 h (410,000 acres).

Gordon M. Shrum Generating Station at Bennett Dam has the capacity to generate over 13 billion kWh annually. The powerhouse, carved deep in bedrock under the east shoulder of Bennett Dam, was the largest underground powerhouse in the world when it began generating electricity in 1968.

The Peace Canyon Dam, situated at the outlet of the Peace River Canyon 23 km (14 miles) downstream from W.A.C. Bennett Dam, reuses water which has already generated electricity at the Gordon M. Shrum power station. The two Peace River power developments have an ultimate rated capacity of 3,425,000 kW.