Built in 1954, the Cleveland Dam was constructed for a number of important reasons. Unlike many other dams though, this one is not used for hydroelectricity. Instead, the original purpose of the dam was to hold back water entering into Burrard Inlet, which used to come in at a heavy pace carrying with it a hearty amount of silt and rocks, as well as a heavy current. Cleveland Dam was also constructed to protect a means of fresh drinking water for the lower mainland of Vancouver. In fact, the lake above Cleveland Dam provides the lower mainland with a whopping 40% of its fresh drinking water.
These days, Cleveland Dam makes up a part of North Vancouver that has quickly become a popular tourism destination and in the area around the dam, there are a number of parks and hiking paths. The dam itself sits in a protected park called Capilano River Regional Park, which also encompasses Capilano Lake, the body of water that the 300-foot spillway of the dam encloses. In the area, visitors can also find attractions such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Canyon Park, and Grouse Mountain.
Cleveland Dam is located in North Vancouver and if you’re heading there by car from the downtown area, is best reached via Stanley Park, the Lion's Gate Bridge and Capilano Road. You can also reach the Dam via public transport by catching bus No. 426 toward Highland. The journey takes about 45 minutes and busses leave around every 30 minutes.