In the spring, Cleveland Dam has its highest output of water to keep its levels from overflowing. Large volumes of water spill down the concrete Dam and into the Capilano River, winding through the canyon and eventually into the ocean.
Cleveland Dam at the headwaters of the Capilano River was first conceived when the region was first settled and there was a need to ensure the surrounding population had a dependable water supply. With a booming population, it was apparent that a large scale project needed to be undertaken to provide the surrounding residents with a clean and plentiful supply of water from a nearby source.
In 1954 the Cleveland Dam was successfully completed six kilometres up from the mouth of the Capilano River, named for the first Chief Commissioner of the Greater Vancouver Water District, Ernest Albert Cleveland.
This tall concrete monolith has since then served to hold 40% of the water used by the city of Vancouver, relying on water from mountain rivers and streams that run into the reservoir above the Capilano River. The Dam allows foot traffic which provides and amazing view on both the north and south face, seeing the immense water system held back by the dam as well as the thundering falls (or trickling depending on weather and rainfall) with a four story drop to the river below.
The dam can also be viewed from Capilano River Regional Park from below or via the stair system that offers amazing views of the water being released from the dam at multiple levels. Informational boards are found at the observation deck at the foot of the falls as well as the top that outline the history behind its creation. As well as being a popular site for tourists and locals, Cleveland Dam has also been featured in films and locally made TV series such as Smallville.
Use the interactive map below to locate and explore the areas around Cleveland DamHead north on Capilano Road, the Dam will b across from a baseball diamond in a large open area toward the west.
Click the brown GEMS on the map to navigate to the other activities within this region