A visit to Lac du Bonnet would not be complete without spending some time at Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park. Don’t let the name fool you; this park, more commonly referred to as ‘Old Pinawa Dam,’ is located in the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet. The Dam is an important part of Manitoba’s history, as well as a gorgeous place to spend the day with your family.
The Pinawa Generating Station was Manitoba’s first year-round hydro generating plant and marked the beginning of hydroelectric development on the Winnipeg River. Pinawa Dam was developed in response to the demand for residential and commercial power and was crucial to the rapid growth of Winnipeg in the pre-war years. The station began delivering power in 1906 and was closed in 1951 to allow the full flow of the Winnipeg River to serve the Seven Sisters Hydro Station built downstream.
The 193-hectare park lies on the edge of the Canadian Shield along the Pinawa Channel and Winnipeg River system, providing a natural, beautiful landscape to explore all year long. Designated as a Provincial Park in 1985, visitors can enjoy many unique experiences at the Dam. Learn how electricity is generated along the Dam Ruins Walk. Enjoy a picnic in the picnic area, complete with fire pits. Take a dip in the cool waters. Be captivated by the waterfront views, rapids, and waterfalls. Learn about the original townsite of Pinawa as you walk along the Old-Pinawa self-guided trail. Appreciate the unique photographic challenges and be prepared to snap lots of photos of white-tailed deer, black bears, and other wildlife near the water’s edge. And last but not least, be swept away by the breathtaking views of the beautiful Canadian Shield outcroppings as you enjoy walking through the park or hitting the portion of the Great Trail that runs through Old Pinawa Dam.
Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park is located northeast of the Town of Lac du Bonnet on PR 520.