Churchill River General Description: Feb. 23, 1924

The following excerpt is from file "Index Div. – 6F" Dated February 23, 1924. It describes the conformation of the Churchill River at Island Falls prior to the building of the power dam in 1929, author unknown.


.... Island (Trade) lake has its outlet at Kettle Falls, which is 15 feet high, fifteen miles from Frog Portage. About two miles below Kettle Falls, the Reindeer River, the largest tributary of the Churchill, enters from the north. For a distance of twenty or twenty-five miles below the mouth of the Reindeer River there follows a stretch of swift flowing river culminating in a rapid entering Wintego lake. This lake, twelve miles in length, outlets at Wintego rapid, a short rapid with a drop of about four feet. Twenty miles below Wintego rapids is encountered another reach of heavy rapids and falls with a drop of ten or twelve feet. The next twenty or twenty-five miles, to the mouth of the Nemei river which enters from the south, is a similar stretch of swift flowing river with numerous falls and rapids, the largest of which is Island fall. This fall, situated about fifteen miles due west of the Manitoba boundary, has a drop of seventeen feet.

Power Site 6EA2 – Island Falls

An inspection of this site was made by engineers of the Dominion Water Power Branch in 1916, while travelling from Kettle falls to Bloodstone falls, and was followed in 1917 by a more detailed power survey by a private corporation interested in a suitable power site of sufficient capacity to supply the estimated power requirements of the Schist lake mining district of Northern Manitoba.

Island falls are situated some 15 miles due west of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan boundary and have a drop of 17 feet. At this site a big island divides the river into two channels. Rock outcrop is exposed all along both channels and appears to underlie the entire site. The proposed layout consists of a sluiceway type of dam across the left main channel at the crest of the rapids and falls, flanked on both sides by a rock and earth fill, the power house being placed across the right main channel at the lower falls. By raising the headwater twenty feet an average head of 37 feet may be obtained and the reservoir or pondage under these conditions would have an area of approximately 12 square miles.

The estimated ordinary minimum power available at this site is 76,000 h.p. and the estimated six-month power is 95,500 h.p.

The foregoing text is based in the main on power surveys of Kettle, Island and Bloodstone falls, made in 1916 by engineers of the Dominion Water Power Branch, Department of the Interior, from which plans and reports of the power possibilities were prepared, and on information collected chiefly from the reports of exploration surveys carried out by the Geological Survey of Canada in earlier years, more particularly those of Wm. McInnis in 1910, J.B. Tyrrell in 1896, and Thos. Fawcett in 1883. The runoff has been estimated chiefly from discharge measurements of the Churchill and Reindeer rivers made near the mouth of the latter stream by engineers of the Department of the Interior.....

Sask. Archives Board, S-A465, CRPCo. Fonds, VIII.1(2) General, 1928 - 1940