Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

Seymour Falls Dam

During the first two decades of the 20th century, the upper reaches of the Capilano River and Lynn and Seymour creeks were open for recreational activity. These were, however, also areas from which the growing Vancouver population obtained its water. In the interests of protecting the water supply, they were closed not only to logging but also to hikers, anglers and mountaineers in the ’20s. These measures were an early indicator of tensions between recreational users and the area’s wilderness integrity that continue today. The Capilano valley’s massive, 107-m Cleveland Dam was completed in 1954, and the Seymour Falls Dam was substantially upgraded from 1959 to 1961. Portions of the Lynn and Seymour watersheds were reopened in 1987 and 1992, respectively, as Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and the Seymour Demonstration Forest (now renamed Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve).

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This is an aerial view of the Seymour Lake and the Seymour Falls Dam, one of three dams that supply water to the Greater Vancouver Water District.

This 30-m dam replaced an earlier, smaller weir in the same location, at the north end of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve.

The photo was taken on May 15, 1961; this was the year that the upgraded Seymour Falls Dam opened.

Ernest Cleveland (1874-1952), after whom the Capilano valley dam is named, was the Greater Vancouver Water District’s first water commissioner. He championed the closed watershed concept after World War I.

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