Around 1906, the first town of Pinawa was born, along with the earliest year-round hydroelectric power dam between the Rockies and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. At present, the majestic concrete ruins that greet you at the Pinawa Provincial Park resemble an ancient Roman coliseum because after the the site ceased generating power in 1951, the townsite was abandoned, much of the area was dismantled, and the dam structure was used for artillery practice.
In 2008, the Old Pinawa dam was honoured by the IEEE Milestones In Electrical Engineering Committee and received an “Engineering Milestone” bronze plaque for the Manitoba Electrical Museum. Manitoba Hydro donated a duplicate bronze plaque, which is mounted on the ruins in the park.
“The Friends of Old Pinawa“, a volunteer organization, works with Manitoba Conservation to preserve and improve the infrastructure of the park and to help promote and attract tourism to our area. Interpretive signs, a self–guiding interpretive brochure, Heritage Walk Picnic Shelter, amphitheatre, picnic facilities, Centennial Spillway Trail and a bridge allowing access to an interpretive nature trail provide added enjoyment for all visitors.
The Pinawa Dam is 8 kilometres north of our town, down the Pinawa Channel. The 25-hectare park lies in the heart of “Cottage Country” on the Lee River/Winnipeg River system, on the edge of the Canadian Shield. The townsite of Old Pinawa is approximately 1.5 hours drive from Winnipeg.