A special celebration Friday marked 50 years for Saskatchewan’s largest piece of infrastructure.

More than 700 people made their way to where Diefenbaker Lake meets the South Saskatchewan River to mark the half-century since the Gardiner Dam opened in the province.

“Gardiner Dam is the most critical piece of infrastructure in this province and we’re very fortunate to be the generation benefitting from the vision of those leaders who saw what Saskatchewan could be,” said Scott Moe, the provincial minister responsible for the Water Security Agency, in a news release.

“Our population and businesses are able to grow because we can support them with water which is all made possible by Lake Diefenbaker and Gardiner Dam.”

The dam officially opened in July 1967, after nine years of construction. It’s one of the largest earth-filled dams in the world, running five kilometres long and 1.6 kilometres wide.

Family members of James Gardiner, Saskatchewan’s fourth Premier and the dam’s namesake, were on hand for the celebration.

“His whole dream was to get this dam built and the water conservation structure built up in the province of Saskatchewan that would benefit the entire west end and, of course, Canada,” Mike Gardiner, a grandson, said.

The construction of the dam cost $120 million.