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Peace Canyon Dam Visitor Centre

View of Peace Canyon Visitor Centre

Peace Canyon reuses water initially used by our dam upstream

In northeast British Columbia, near the town of Hudson's Hope, is Williston Lake, 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 km downstream, which reuses water that has already generated electricity.

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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 Peace Canyon Dam Visitor Centre, six kilometres southwest of Hudson's Hope, and near Williston Lake and the W.A.C Bennett Dam Visitor Centre.

WAC Bennet Dam and Peace Canyon Dam Map

Hours and contact info

The Visitor Centre is closed. For information and group bookings for our 2015 season, please contact us at 250 783 5048 or

History and hydroelectric operation

Peace Canyon Dam is 50 metres (165 feet) high, 534 metres (1,752 feet) long and contains 515,000 cubic metres (670,000 cubic yards) of concrete. The dam has a spillway containing six gates with enough capacity to by-pass 10,300 cubic metres (363,700 cubic feet) of river flow per second.

Under normal circumstances, however, all the water released from the Gordon M. Shrum Station is reused at Peace Canyon to generate electricity. The dam impounds a 21 km (13 mile) long reservoir in a narrow box canyon. The reservoir is only 800 hectares (1,976 acres) and stores a maximum of 216 million cubic metres (175,000 acres-feet).

Water from the reservoir is drawn through four intake pipes leading to the hydraulic turbines. Water is carried back into the Peace River by four 8.8 m (28.8 feet) diameter pipes. The plant uses the same amount of water as the Gordon M Shrum powerhouse but generates less electricity because of the lower "head" – the difference in height between the water level in the reservoir and the turbine outlet.

The plant's four turbine runners and generators are among the largest ever installed in North America. Manufactured by the Leningrad Metal Works in Russia, the four 200 tonne (220.5 ton) water wheels or turbine runners were transported 20,000 km (12,400 mile) across the Atlantic Ocean, along the Pacific Coast and over northern B.C.'s rugged terrain. The generators were manufactured in Japan.

The combined capacity of the four generating units is 700,000 kilowatts. A magnetic rotor inside each generator spins to produce up to 175 million watts of power – enough to light about three million 60 watt light bulbs.

The Peace Canyon plant normally produces more than 3.5 billion kWh of electricity every year – enough to supply the needs of north central British Columbia or to heat 200,000 average homes.

The plant is connected to the provincial transmission grid in a 99 m (325 feet) long steel frame switch gear building on the west bank of the river. The use of pressurized sulphur hexafluoride gas (SF6) as insulation for conductors reduces the need for floor area in the building to about one-tenth of that of a conventional outdoor switching station.