Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques

Red Deer Lumber Company

Red Deer Lumber Company
(Courtesy of the late Jim Russell, Swan River)
Installed 2001
Vault Site, Red Deer Lake north of Swan River
PTH 10 north to PTH 77 west
proceed north on Red Deer Lake Road

Lumbering was an integral component of Manitoba's industrial development from 1880 to 1930, providing materials for new communities and vital seasonal employment for agricultural settlers. Portable and permanent mills were established along major waterways to process logs cut on vast timber berths or small "settlers' permits." By 1930, with Manitoba's supply of old growth forests depleted, large-scale lumbering ended and emphasis was switched to pulp and paper production.

From 1907 until 1926, the Union Lumber Company of Chicago, here at Red Deer Lake, operated one of Manitoba's three largest commercial mills. Others were at Grandview and The Pas. This complex, with 11 outlying logging camps, a railway spur line, sawmill, planner, lath mill, blacksmith shop, stable, school, church, hall and homes for 40 families, employed 140 workers and annually processed 20 million board feet of lumber.

When production ended, many workers remained here with their families, seeking employment in nearby smaller mills. Scattered foundations, a cemetery, and this vault are the sole reminders of the mill's existence.