A century of power at Stave Falls is about to be celebrated.
The Stave Falls Visitor Centre, just east of Maple Ridge at 31338 Dewdney Trunk Rd., is hosting a birthday party that's 100 years in the making.
The family-friendly event this Saturday, Aug. 11 includes carnival games, facepainting, and crafts for kids, and runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In lieu of admission, donations to the food bank are being accepted.
Walking into the visitor centre, formerly the Stave Falls powerhouse, is like wandering back in time.
The powerhouse was completed in 1911, and power started flowing to surrounding customers early in 1912.
Construction on the former generating station continued from 1906 until its completion in 1925.
Upgrades were made to the station right until the end. The dams were raised, additional turbines were added, the generator's capacity was increased, and a fifth generating unit was installed.
Then, in 2000, a new generating plant, which produces nearly twice as much electricity, replaced the old powerhouse. The new and old plants are located next to one another.
In 2002, the powerhouse was turned into a museum and educational centre with interactive games and historic displays, telling the story of how power has helped B.C. The BC Hydro-run visitor centre is open Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesdays), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day until Sept. 3.
In addition to their duties as hosts and historical interpreters, staff at the visitor centre also field modern-day queries.
"People have questions about smart meters, sometimes they have questions about their billing, so we direct them in the right way, but mostly it's to promote electricity and teach people where power comes from," said Janis Schultz, the visitor centre's tour guide leader.
Tours start off with a showing of the short film Rain, which gives an overview about electricity, its history, as well as the history of the two plants.
The visitor centre houses interpretive rooms, pictures, appliances, tools, and the turbines and generators that at one time provided electrical power to the Fraser Valley and beyond.
www Each guided tour takes about two hours to complete. An array of visitors drop by the centre, including school groups, church groups, seniors, guides, brownies, scouts, and other kids clubs.
Schultz has a personal connection to the facility. She grew up in Stave Falls, and her grandfather Charles Miller came over from England to help build the original powerhouse. He also wrote books about the area: Valley of the Stave and The Golden Mountains.
For more on the visitor centre, people can visit www.bchydro.com/ stavefalls.
The Power Of The Stave River, by Meg Stanley & Hugh Wilson