In it's heyday in the 1890s, Sandon was a city with all the modern conveniences: theatres, stores, 29 hotels, 28 saloons, factories and mills. A large red-light district thrived due to the predominance of men, and several churches did their best to bring morality to this wild boom town. Electricity was "state of the art" and Sandon became the first place in BC to have an electrical utility where every citizen could obtain electrical service. With an abundance of water and steep mountains Sandon was ideally suited to the generation of hydroelectricity. In all, eight hydroelectric systems operated in the Sandon area during the peak years. In 1897, the finest of them all, the Slocan Star plant, later renamed the Silversmith, went into operation to supply electricity and compressed air to Canada's wealthiest mining company, ancestor of today's global mining giant Goldcorp. It is still operating today providing 100% green, modern AC electricity for BC's smallest regulated utility, Silversmith Power & Light.
In addition to the main generating plant, the Silversmith powerhouse also houses an Ingersol-Rand air compressor c. 1897, a Fairbanks-Morse 3-cylinder Oil Engine c. 1917, a Blackstone Diesel Engine c. 1952, a 600-cfm Holman compressor driven by a 6-cylinder GM diesel, and numerous smaller artifacts from Canada's electrical and industrial past.
Cost: Free! Donations gratefully accepted.
Summer Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm, 7 days a week from the May holiday weekend until Thanksgiving.
Winter Hours: Tours by appointment only -please call or email to arrange.
Group Tours: To ensure the best possible experience we ask that groups of 15+ contact us in advance. For bus tour group information, click here.
Where to Find Us
Mail: PO Box 369, New Denver BC, V0G 1S0
About Silversmith Power & Light Corp.
Silversmith Power and Light Corporation is locally owned and operated and is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Historic Silversmith Hydroelectric Generating Station and the historic site of Sandon. We are proud to be the first utility in British Columbia to obtain green energy certification, and are committed to providing green energy both in our own local service area (Sandon) and to the grid.