Buntzen Lake Powerhouses – Anmore, British Columbia - Atlas Obscura

Buntzen Lake Powerhouses

Anmore, British Columbia

The century-old plant starred as the villainous clown's lair in the miniseries based on Stephen King's "It." 


The area around Indian Arm in British Columbia is a great place to go for a hike; the many trails are accessible by foot, by mountain bike, and by horse. But beware around the Buntzen powerhouses on area’s eastern shore: There were some serious creepy clown sightings there some years back.

The old power plant on Indian Arm, named after the first general manager of the B.C. Electric Co., Johannes Buntzen, was originally built to provide hydroelectric power to Vancouver’s streetcars in the early 20th century. A nearly-13,000-foot tunnel was blasted through Eagle Mountain to carry water from Coquitlam Lake to Buntzen Lake (both of those lakes are at a higher elevation than Indian Arm), from which penstocks would carry it to the powerhouses to generate electricity.

The area’s scenic environs and classic buildings (one of the powerhouses looks like a castle fortress) have made it a favored set for several movies, including Roxanne, Lake Placid, Freddy Vs. Jason, and the 1990 television miniseries based on Stephen King’s It. Pennywise, the villainous clown in It, spends a lot of time in the sewers, and the old power plant provided the perfect setting for his lair.

Know Before You Go

Powerhouse 1 is accessible by following the trails from Buntzen Lake to Powerhouse Road, though getting near it is discouraged by local authorities. Powerhouse 2 is not as easy to find by foot; the best way to see it is to approach from the water. Going into either building is forbidden. The published coordinates are for Powerhouse 2, the most photogenic.

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