In 1909, the city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada began construction on a hydroelectric dam spanning the North Saskatchewan River. Known as the La Colle Falls Dam, the structure was intended to become the sole source of the growing city’s power needs but instead, it was simply a source of financial woe.
The project was actually sold to Saskatchewan by one of the engineers of the Niagara Falls project, but he did little after selling the concept, leaving the dam’s actual construction to the ill-equipped and inexperienced local engineers. Soon after the dam’s approval, construction costs skyrocketed, topping $3 million, an amount nearly unheard of at the time. The project ended up nearly bankrupting the city of Prince Albert, which was in a financial boom at the time that the project was proposed. After nearly ruining the town it was supposed to save, the dam was simply abandoned like a bad memory in 1913.
Today, the dam still sits decaying and incomplete. It stretches about a third of the way across the North Saskatchewan River and is slowly being reclaimed by nature, graffiti, and underage drinking. Most recently, efforts have been made to look at the structure architecturally and have it declared a national landmark.
Know Before You Go
Drive east of Prince Albert approx. 6km and turn north onto River Road. Drive approx. 35km and turn north onto the sign indicating La Colle Falls. At the curve in the road, walk down the path through the trees that follow the river until you reach the dam site.