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Thursday, June 14, 2012


The town of Powell River B.C. was established back in 910 when the Powell River Paper Company began building the town and constructed the dam and mill. The mill became the first and largest newsprint manufacturer in Western Canada. The town was primarily established to provide homes for the workers and their families.

My friend and I took a morning tour around the old town beginning with brunch at the old Rodmay Hotel, the first commercial building in Power River, built in 1911. The hotel was later solder to Rod and May MacIntyre in 1917, hence the name "Rodmay"

Although there have been many renovations over the years, the interior still has the same period style and elegance.

The Lobby

The elegant staircase.

This writer spotted the old typewriter

The beautiful Tudor revival Bank of Montreal building, built in 1931 is across the road from the Rodmay and next to the bank is the Northwest Telephone Building (1931)

Just up the street is the former Provincial Building (1939) that cost $20,000 to build. It  housed the BC Police, courtroom, forestry service, public works, government agent, relief services, and jail cells. Since 1980 the building has been privately owned.

The Oceanview Apartments (1916) were accommodation for married employees of the mill, with no children.
Oceanview Apartments

Dwight Hall (1927) is a beautiful building that served as a dance hall in the '20's. It had a spring dance floor capable of holding 800 people. Concerts, plays and social gatherings were held there and it's still the centre of many activities.  It was said to the the grandest community hall in BC at the time.
Dwight Hall

The cenotaph by Dwight Hall was erected in 1929 to honour war veterans.

We drove around the lovely residential areas of the town. Neighbourhoods consisted of workers of the same occupation with groups of houses with standard designs. The townsite streets were designed with similar house shapes on each block. Most of them are restored in good condition with little yards and gardens.

There are two churches side by side.  The St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, built in 1916

And St. John's United Church 1913. (Prior to 19210 this was known as the St. John's Union Church for all protestant congregations)

We stopped in at the local Townsite Brewery (also in a heritage building) for a taste of their excellent brews.

Then we headed down to the beach to check out the rusted ship hulls anchored off-shore at the port, which are used for divers.

Today the mill, that once employed over 2000 people, only has just over 100 staff and Powell River has become mainly a retirement community. But it's a lovely little town, worth visiting, and there are new developments, campsites, hotels and resort all along the scenic Sunshine Coast.
We stayed at the Beach Gardens Resort and Marina and enjoyed the ocean views and tranquil atmosphere.

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