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Alcan Project History

Sharing the Vision

The Government of Canada and Alcan promoted the Project in displays, publications, and presentations worldwide. As a result, the construction years saw a constant stream of dignitaries and media.

The Project was highlighted by Canada at the Brussels World’s Fair, 1958 and at the Triennale di Milano, the international design fair in Milan, 1957. The Project made the news across North America including the Canadian Geographic Journal (November 1959), Maclean's, the National Geographic (September 1956), and the Saturday Evening Post (February 1957). Famed Canadian documentary photographer Malak Karsh, hired in the 1950s by Alcan to take photographs of Arvida and Kitimat, came to Kitimat in 1959. Many of his photographs were published in Alcan literature and textbooks on Canada.

The plant officially opened August 3, 1954, with His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, tapping the first ingot. Dignitaries attended all of Kitimat’s major opening events including those for the highway and railway. Kitimat hosted visits from many government officials including Premier W.A.C. Bennett, Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, and Governor-Generals for Canada Vincent Massey and Roland Michener.