Movie Monday: Bennett Dam

Image: A film still showing the Bennett Dam construction site (SPRA 0198.02.05, Fonds 198: Ward-Marcy family fonds)

Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.

It’s time for another Movie Monday family vacation! This week we are visiting the Bennett Dam, located near Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia. Our featured film was taken by the Marcy family in the early 1960s, when the hydroelectric dam was in the beginning stages of construction.

The W.A.C. Bennett Dam, named after British Columbia’s then-premier, is one of the largest earthfill structures in the world; the reservoir is so immense that it can be seen from space. The building of the dam itself began in 1964, though the site already had been under construction for some years. Cat machines dozed together moraine for sorting, and conveyors transported the graded material to the dam site – both of these procedures can be seen in the film!

During the course of the dam’s construction, more than 100 million tons of gravel, sand, and rock were carried by dump trucks to the dam, and when construction was at its peak, more than 4,800 people were employed for the project. The construction of the dam was a long and complex process, but on September 28, 1968, power was generated from the project for the very first time. The dam celebrated its 50th anniversary of operation in 2018.