The Ross McLaren Sawmill was built on the Fraser River in what is now Coquitlam in 1890. However the mill was shut down in 1892 following the death of one of the founders, James McLaren. The mill and its timber rights were sold in 1903 to the Fraser River Sawmills Company, who took over the mill and had it back in production by 1905 as the largest mill in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1907 the mill was reorganized, renovated and expanded. The additional timber rights that were acquired at this point gave Fraser Mills the largest private timber holdings in the world. In 1909 the Fraser River Lumber Company (which became the Canadian Western Lumber Company the following year) decided to recruit French-Canadian workers and their subsequent settlement became Maillardville. The municipality of Fraser Mills was formed in 1913. In 1954 the Canadian Western Lumber Company, Limited was acquired by Crown Zellerback Canada Limited, which was purchased by Fletcher Challenge in 1983, which was acquired by Norske Skog in 2000.  

Some of the buildings on the Fraser Mills site started to come down in 1996.   The mill was officially closed in 2001, and most of the remaining buildings have been taken down over the subsequent years.



Fraser Mills ~1891 

From the Coquitlam Public Library: The Original Ross-McLaren Sawmill
Left background - Four masted Schooner loading 1st shipment of export lumber to Australia. The mill originally built in 1889, had been on this site for 112 years when it was permanently closed in October 2001.


Sources/more info:

The History of Fraser Mills by Crown Zellerback

Canadian Western Lumber Company, Limited at RSBC Archives


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