The fonds consists of the records of Western Pulp Ltd. Partnership, mainly pertaining to the company’s Woodfibre pulp mill near Squamish, B.C. A very small number are records (mainly photographs) which pertain to the company’s pulp mill at Port Alice on northern Vancouver Island.
Most of the records date from after 1983, the year Western Pulp Ltd. Partnership was formed. However the fonds also consists of pre-1983 records which were inherited from the previous owners of the Woodfibre and Port Alice operations. Of the pre-1983 records, the majority date from the 1960s and were created by Rayonier Canada Limited.
A mill had been in operation at Woodfibre since 1912, when the British Columbia Sulphite Fibre Company Ltd. began pulp production at Mill Creek (the community was renamed Woodfibre in 1921). In 1917 ownership of the mill passed to Whalen Pulp and Paper Mills Ltd., who, in the same year, began operations at Port Alice. In 1925, these assets were purchased by the British Columbia Pulp and Paper Company Ltd., who operated the mills until 1951. At that time, the Alaska Pine Company Ltd. (owned by the Koerner family of Vancouver) joined Toronto-based Abitibi Power and Paper Company Ltd. to purchase the British Columbia Pulp and Paper Company Ltd. When the purchase was completed the combined properties of Alaska Pine Company Ltd. and the British Columbia Pulp and Paper Company Ltd. were merged. On April 25, 1951 the British Columbia Pulp and Paper Company Ltd. became Alaska Pine and Cellulose Ltd., with ownership split between the Koerner interests and Abitibi. This company now owned the pulp mills at Woodfibre and Port Alice, and employed 4,950.
In 1954 the Koerners sold their controlling interest in Alaska Pine and Cellulose Ltd. to Rayonier Inc. of New York. Alaska Pine and Cellulose Ltd. continued, now controlled by Rayonier. By 1959 Rayonier had purchased the balance of the stock, and on September 16, 1959 the Alaska Pine and Cellulose Ltd. name was changed to Rayonier Canada Limited. A second company, Rayonier B.C. Limited, was also incorporated, and in 1961 the name of that company was changed to Rayonier Canada (B.C.) Limited., who owned and operated the pulp mills until 1980.
Under Rayonier, in the 1960s, the houses in the Woodfibre townsite were demolished and families moved to Squamish and other Howe Sound communities.
It is not possible to state with certainty the function and activities which generated the records. However, a very large proportion of the records are photographs of construction projects in the mid-1980s; it appears the company intended to document the major mill modernization program of that period at Woodfibre.
In the pre-1983, inherited records, there is a particular emphasis on water-related subject matter. This includes: water supply, water licenses, water power, storage and water system infrastructure, dams, and water and precipitation data recording. Other significant subject matter of the pre-1983 records includes the mill’s appraised value and viability, property and land surveys, and historical writing about Woodfibre.
The archivist did not discover any original classification system. The archivist established artificial series based on: (1) whether the records were created by the company after 1983, or whether they were created by predecessor companies before 1983; and (2) the type of physical form and the creator’s rough organization. For example, the creator assembled most of the photographs generally in chronological order, mounted in photo albums.
The fonds consists of the following series:
MS-3129 - Photographs -- 1981-[2000?]; predominant 1984-1986
MS-3130 - Predecessor companies, office files -- 1910-2001; predominant ca. 1935-1983
MS-3131 - Office files -- 1988-2006
MS-3136 - Rayonier Canada Limited photographs -- [ca. 1963-1966]
Photographs are the predominant documentary form, including prints, negatives and 35mm slides. To a lesser degree, the fonds includes textual material, maps, plans, diagrams, and technical drawings. In the textual records, reports and studies (for example, by engineers and appraisers) are prominent. There are also company annual reports, year-end reviews, company newsletters and collected publications. There is a relatively small amount of correspondence and memoranda.
Note that by 2004, the term “Partnership” no longer appears in the company title, and the term “Woodfibre” was not officially used; therefore, records may refer to “Western Pulp Limited -- Squamish Operation” (or “Squamish Division”).
Western Pulp Ltd. Partnership