The Whonnock Logging Co. originally started operating on this site around 1926.

 It was most likely the precursor to the mill on this site operated by the Whonnock Lumber Co. that was built in 1929.  The company was owned and superintended by Mr S.Z. Shin (with about 12-15 employees) until 1936 when Peter Bain took over and Mr Shin retired to grow fruit.

 

The company morphed through different company names and owners over the next 70 year:

In 1967 the name changed to Whonnock Industries, 

"(Chester)Johnson started his climb to business stardom when he was hired as a consultant by Whonnock Lumber Co., which consisted of a lumber mill on the Fraser River, a shake-and-shingle operation on Stave Lake and several logging tracts.  By 1966, he and a partner owned a controlling interest, and he had big plans. Under his command, Whonnock prospered and went public, raising funds to expand through acquisitions. In 1971, the company bought Weldco Ltd., a logging equipment manufacturer. It acquired Interior lumber companies and changed its name to Whonnock Industries Ltd., with Johnson as president and CEO."  From the Globe & Mail obituary for Chester Johnson, published May 6, 2010

in 1979 Sauder Industries acquired a controlling interest,

"Johnson made his first lump-sum million when he sold Whonnock to Sauder Industries in 1977. Later, he said he would have gotten much richer had he kept control of Whonnock by borrowing the $3-million necessary to buy out the other shareholders and stave off Sauder's bid. But at the time, he thought it too risky. He stayed on as president and CEO, and bought out the Weldco subsidiary." From the Globe & Mail obituary for Chester Johnson, published May 6, 2010

in 1988 the name changed to International Forest Products, who finally closed the remainder of the mill operations and contracted with WRT to dismantle the mill around 2002.

WRT is now operating from the former site of the Whonnock mill, along with several other specialty mills and trucking companies. 

 

Thanks very much to Fred Braches and Val Patenaude at the Maple Ridge Historical Society for providing much of the information and photos about the early years of the mill! The water tower from the Whonnock mill was featured on the 2015 Whonnock History Calendar:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ms6LNqpgTTk/VHI0u1DiIVI/AAAAAAAAOVs/_wxsSVKs9sQ/s1600/Pages%2Bfrom%2BWhonnock%2Bcalendar%2B2015.jpg

Interfor's wikipedia entry also provided some of the timeline of the company's various transitions.

If you have other information or photographs of the Whonnock mill while it was operating, please let me know! I am still trying to document the full story of this historic site. 

 

 

 

 

preview   preview

Go to top