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Encyclopedia > Bowater Forest Products

The Bowater paper mill in Thunder Bay, Ontario began as "Great Lakes Forest Products" (GLFP) in 1898, in Neebing Township, just southwest of the town of Westfort (now part of the city of Thunder Bay). Thanks to investments by American entrepreneurs from Chicago and Minneapolis -- where their Canadian counterparts in Southern Ontario were too timid to invest in the great Northwest of Ontario -- one of the largest paper and newsprint mills in the world began to take shape on the northern shore of the Kaministiquia River. Fortuitous in their vision, investors built their mill just outside city limits, taking advantage of lower tax rates in a rural municipality, yet still close enough to a major city to take advantage of a source of manufacturing labour.

By the early 1970s -- just after numerous municipalities in the Lakehead area had amalgamated to become the city of Thunder Bay, one of Ontario's largest, at the time, -- GLFP had an employment base of over 4,000 people, men and women. This paper mill had become the world's largest, and it looked like employee numbers would continue to grow. But it was not to be; within 10 short years, mechanisation processes imported from Finland began to drastically reduce the workforce necessary to operate the mill. Today, while the mill produces over half a million tonnes of newsprint annually, and again as much in pulp, it employs less than 1,500 people.

Unfortunately, this is symptomatic of the general tendency, in Canada, to concentrate more and more jobs in the Southern Ontario - Southern Quebec urban corridor (equivalent to America's Eastern Seaboard), through higher orders of tertiary manufacturing and high-technology. Meanwhile, the same policy ensured a steady decline in the number of jobs in the natural resource sectors -- those sectors upon which Canada's very economic foundation was built -- and a concomitant decline in the population of communities solely dependant upon those natural resource sectors.

PS: to see an aerial photo of a portion of just a small part of this massive factory, please click here: http://maps.city.thunder-bay.on.ca/onpoint/servlet/onpoint?DEFAULTSKIN=default&LINK=true&PROJECT=Internet&MAPTAB=General&ENVELOPE=true&MINX=328871.636&MAXX=329400.806&MINY=5357328.649&MAXY=5357646.151&LABELX=329136.221&LABELY=5357487.4&LABEL=Bowater, thanks to Allan Krisciunas).

  Results from FactBites:
Links to Pulp and Paper Producers (1610 words)
GP is also a major producer of building products such as plywood, gypsum, etc. The GP Website offers a lot of useful information, including do-it-yourself projects with forest products, such as making a dog house.
Formerly Johnson Corrugated Products, Corp. This is a Canadian company with a variety of products such as packaging materials, tissue, and molded pulp.
Centered in Spokane, Washington, Potlatch is a forest products company with about 1.5 million acres of timberland in Arkansas, Idaho and Minnesota.
  More results at FactBites »



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