Kitimat Beginnings

Outdoor skating rink, lower parking lot, City Centre.  Photographed by Max Patzelt. 

Kitimat was the place to be in North America in the 1950s. The massive Kitimat Project engineered by the Aluminum Company of Canada, known as Alcan, was completed in northwest British Columbia in just five years - the Kenney Dam, tunnel, Kemano powerhouse and village, transmission line, aluminum smelter, and the town of Kitimat. Following the Second World War, the Aluminum Company of Canada prospered. Their product was heralded as the metal of the future. In the post-war industrial boom worldwide, the Project was the largest construction job for the time with thousands from around the world participating in its feverish work pace. Records were set, innovation was at every turn, and the result was the largest aluminum smelter in the world and the premier community to go with it.

With aluminum as the new metal, Canadians were building the future.  The Project was the model of modern Canadian ingenuity – a feat that showed that Canadians were able to surmount the wild Canadian landscape.  Industry and government promoted the Project worldwide.

Published in The Alcan Story, Dietrich-Collins Equipment Ltd., circa 1955.