Cleveland Dam

North Vancouver, Canada | C.1954

Photo Credit: Tara Lowry

Encompassed by towering mountains, this little forest-green house is ready for its close-up. Providing drinking water to 80% of homes in Northern Vancouver, this dam is not only useful to the local population but to directors of moving pictures. 

Built in 1954, the Cleveland Dam was built to provide fresh drinking water not for a certain locale in Ohio but for the northern outskirts of metro Vancouver in Canada. Named after water commissioner Ernest Albert Cleveland, the dam has been filling up sinks and tubs for almost 70 years, maintained by teams assigned with protecting the water supply year-round. One of the vestiges of this protection is the iconic green boat house, used by dam officials when cleaning up debris and clearing the dam’s booms. Due to its idyllic setting amongst the Lion Mountains, the green house has been the subject of many photographs and community adoration throughout its history. Floating on the manmade Capilano Lake, the house looks like a cozy isolated retreat from afar, since most of the dam is off-limits to visitors—unless one has a camera crew.  

Despite the dam being heavily secured against the casual visitor, it has been featured in multiple films and television episodes over the course of its career. On its resume, you’d find it was used as a setting in multiple episodes of Smallville, The Sentinel, Supernatural, and even a Cadillac fell from the dam in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, The 6th Day. The water must have been a little less potable on that filming day. 

Despite its avid following from hikers and passersby, Cleveland Dam’s green boat house is no longer buoyed by the booms. Not to worry, however, as the iconic house is simply tethered to another boom around the bend of the lake. Its agent must have requested a “new look” for its next Hollywood audition.

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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