Is it an abandoned hotel? No, there’s no way to get there by land. An old naval fortress? No, the location doesn’t make any strategic sense. A hydroelectric dam? Where’s the water behind it?

As it turns out, it is a power plant! Buntzen generating station #2, completed in 1914, was built to supplement the output of BC’s first-ever hydroelectric plant up-inlet. Both stations were powered by water delivered by penstocks from Buntzen Lake, which in turn was supplied with water from Coquitlam Lake via a 4km-long tunnel.

Buntzen station #1 is still functional and supplies 60 megawatts of power to the Metro Vancouver area. Buntzen #2 was shut down at the turn of the millenium and serves as a historic curiosity for kayakers in səl̓ilw̓ət (Indian Arm).

A black-and-white photo of a large but narrow concrete building at the bottom of a steep hill on the water. The exterior is mostly complete, but there are large pipes outside indicating that construction on the inside is ongoing.
Buntzen station #2 under construction in 1913. (James Matthews/Vancouver Archives)