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Forest History in Northern BC

Overview of Northern BC Archives collections on forestry and the forest industry.

Northwood Pulp & Timber Limited Collections

2001.26.1.1515 - Woods Division - Logs/Log Decks - Dumping at Hyu Creek; decks on FraserNorthwood’s corporate archive is of interest to researchers of forest industry policy and practices conducted within BC over a 30 year period when North Central BC experienced a major boom in forestry operations c.1960s-1990s. When reviewed also in the context of the personal business archive of Northwood’s former CEO Adam Zimmerman, the records provide a rarely documented perspective on Canadian forest industry policy and practices in the late 20th century.

The Adam Zimmerman fonds is a highly significant archival holding of national interest pertaining to late 20th century business operations in Canada’s natural resource industries. It provides a wealth of material for future academic and public research related to natural resource development in Canada and British Columbia and its impact on the Canadian economy, labour interests, international relations and environmental developments. It will also be of great interest to those researchers interested in the history of business in Canada as it provides rare insights into the activities of Canadian business executives in late 20th century Canada.

Image: 2001.26.1.1515 - Woods Division - Logs/Log Decks - Dumping at Hyu Creek; decks on Fraser

Northwood Pulp & Timber Limited fonds

Northwood Pulp & Timber Limited fonds (1963-1999) - 2001.26

2001.26.1.1158 - Woods Division - Hand Falling - Hand falling in winterThis fonds consists of 14,700+ color, and black & white photographs and negatives; 3,600+ color slides; 35 cm of sound and moving images (including 3 - 16mm color films, 3 mini DVs, 6 CDs, and 19 VHS video cassettes); and 1.26m of textual records. Photographs document a wide variety of Northwood’s forestry operations:

  • Northwood Pulp & Timber’s original construction (1964-65), subsequent expansion (1980–1981)
  • Aerial perspectives
  • Silviculture and forest harvesting practices
  • Sawmill and pulp mill general operations
  • Logging camps
  • The building of logging roads and bridges
  • Northwood’s unique equipment i.e. locomotives, snowplow and refurbished 1942 fire engine
  • Mill machinery details
  • Employees at work
  • Service awards and certifications events
  • Corporate portraiture
  • Office "spirit" events
  • Corporate outreach activities and community programming images.

Over 2100+ images have been digitized and are accessible online.

Promotional videos and films depict tours of pulp mill operations and slash-burning practices implemented by the forest division. The 16mm films depict forestry practices, and early sawmill operations at Eagle Lake Sawmill in 1963 depicts sawmill operations from harvesting trees to finished lumber products. Textual records consist primarily of materials documenting service awards events, minutes of meetings and documented functions of the corporate club, single issues of Northwood News and Northwood Notes (c.1980-1995) informing employees about pulp mill expansion, and updates on promotions and departures. Consult archivist for in-house inventory.

2001.26.1.1210 - Woods Division - Mechanical Falling - feller buncherAdministrative History

Northwood Pulp was established in 1961 when Canadian corporation, Noranda Mines Limited, diversified into the BC forest industry and purchased the Sinclair and Upper Fraser Sawmills, east of Prince George. After their purchase, and the proliferation of others, there became an excess of waste wood products generated by milling in the central interior of British Columbia. To meet this specific waste reduction need, and to expand into a new wood fibre market, the Mead Corporation and Noranda Mines built Northwood Pulp Mill in 1964-1965. In 1999, the Canadian Forest Products (Canfor) acquired all shares of Northwood Inc.; a purchase which included Northwood Pulp Mill, Prince George Sawmill, North Central Plywoods, Rustad, Houston and Upper Fraser operations, the Kyahwood Forest Products joint venture and J.D. Little Forest Centre.

Images (top to bottom):

  • 2001.26.1.1158 - Woods Division - Hand Falling - Hand falling in winter
  • 2001.26.1.1210 - Woods Division - Mechanical Falling - feller buncher

Adam Zimmerman fonds

Adam Zimmerman fonds (1957-1996)​ - 2003.8

Portrait of Adam ZimmermanBiographical History

Records consist of textual records related to Adam Zimmerman's (1927-1916) executive career with Noranda Inc., MacMillan Bloedel, & Northwood Pulp & Timber. Zimmerman joined Noranda Inc. in 1958 and held a number of senior administrative positions, serving as President & CEO (1982-87), Vice Chair of Noranda Inc. (1987-1992), and CEO, Noranda Forest Inc. (1987-1991), Chair (1987-1993), and Director (1987-1994), and Chair (1983-1990) and Vice-Chair (1990-1993) of MacMillan Bloedel after it was acquired by Noranda Forests Inc. Zimmerman served on 40+ private and public sector boards and had many professional affiliations during his career including with: C.D. Howe Institute; Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario; Canadian Pulp & Paper Association; and Canadian Forest Industries Council. His publication Who’s in Charge Here, Anyway?: reflections from a life in business (1997) provides an insider’s perspective of natural resource business industries.

Image: 2001.26.1.5455 - Portrait of Adam Zimmerman


The records consist primarily of Zimmerman’s administrative and business papers during his tenure as a senior level executive with Noranda Inc., Noranda Mines Ltd, and Macmillan Bloedel Ltd., particularly in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia with the majority of these records relating to the senior level operations of these companies. It includes 6+ metres of records related to the development of Northwood Pulp & Timber Ltd. (1965-c.1984) including its regional operations throughout North-Central BC). The records also document Noranda’s successful and unsuccessful attempts at business acquisitions in forestry and mining operations internationally, particularly in Mexico, Brazil, The Netherlands and Tasmania.

Materials includes 3+ metres of records generated by Zimmerman in his directorship/chairman positions on forest industry association boards including notes, general correspondence, minutes, grey literature notably from the Canadian Forest Industries Council, the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, the Forest Sector Advisory Council and other similar industry associations. Much material relates to the issue of the softwood lumber dispute and Zimmerman’s direct involvement in the lobbying efforts regarding Canada / U.S. Free Trade issues. The fonds includes extensive correspondence between Zimmerman and various levels of government regarding the lobbying of government on forestry policy and correspondence with various environmental lobbying groups in the 1980s including correspondence with well known environmentalist David Suzuki’s office. Subjects include all facets of business operations pertaining to Canadian forestry and mining sectors including:

  • labour issues
  • environmental impacts of industrial developments
  • industry and effects on the Canadian economy
  • the free trade debate
  • the softwood lumber issue

Also includes Zimmerman’s speeches and correspondence related to his involvement in charities, foundations and corporate fundraising initiatives with Canadian educational institutions, non-profit societies and with federal election campaigns. 

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