Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Shuswap-Okanagan Canal

What the canal might have looked like if it had been built

Often, some of the most interesting history stories are the footnotes, the obscure tales about the disreputable characters, the disputes, the failed schemes and the development pipedreams. One of these vignettes was the very early proposal to build a canal to provide a transportation link between the Okanagan and the Thompson region through the Shuswap.

Continue reading

Forest industry was key to Shuswap settlement

A log drive on the Shuswap River

Despite the obstacles that many settlers encountered in gaining title to their homesteads due to the rights held by timber companies, the success of settlement in the Shuswap was due in large part to the contributions to the economy by the forest industry. From when some of the first trees were felled by Francis Anstey in 1878 until World War II, there were four eras of forestry beginning with some timber cutting for the Shuswap Mill in Kamloops; a few mills supplying lumber, timber and ties for building and maintaining the railway and for local construction; demand for lumber in the Prairies giving rise to high volume sawmills in strategic locations, many owned by large American companies; and an industry focused on poles and ties due to the lower demand for lumber.

Continue reading