Powell River officially started off as an industrial centre. Before that the area was part of the Sliammon First Nation's territory. Today this upper Sunshine Coast community is best-known as an outdoor recreation mecca with a friendly, laidback vibe.
First Nations For thousands of years before the coming of Europeans, the Sliammon First Nation inhabited the upper Sunshine Coast, occupying traditional lands that covered 400sq km. Part of the larger Coast Salish people, they engaged in fishing, hunting, and trade, and were noted for their totem poles, cedar canoes, and unique language.
Pulp and Paper
The establishment of logging camps in the Powell River area in the 1880s was a precursor to greater economic things. Powell River became a regular stop for the ships of the Union Steamship Company. Between 1910 and 1912, a pulp and paper mill was built on the waterfront by the Brooks, Scanlon and O'Brien Company. The Powell River Paper Company was formed in 1909 by Brooks and Scanlon. In 1910, the company was renamed the Powell River Company. The first roll of saleable newsprint was produced in April 1912. By 1930, the mill employed more than 2,000 workers, and had become the largest newsprint mill in the world.
Modern Powell River The Powell River Townsite was designated by the Canadian federal government as a National Historic District in 1995. Powell River was also incorporated as a separate district municipality that year, and received full city status in 2005.
To learn more about the culture and history of Powell River, visit local museums such as the Powell River Historical Museum (4798 Marine Ave.) and the nearby Powell River Forestry Museum (4815 Marine Ave.). The Townsite Heritage Society of Powell River offers self-guided and guided walking tours of the 400-odd heritage buildings near the mill. Pick up a brochure at the Powell River Visitor Centre (#111-4871 Joyce Ave.).
Information provided by Tourism Powell River
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