PR- Watson Island

Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada

Watson Island

Railway Point on Grand Trunk Pacific

Latitude- 54°14'00“ N, Longitude- 130°18'00” W

Unincorporated Area

South of Kaien Island
South of Prince Rupert
2 Km North of Pt. Edward

In Coast Range 5 Land District

Columbia Cellulose Mill
Postcard courtesy Grant Walker, CA

Island was home to the Columbia Cellulose Mill, which operated from Apr 16, 1951, to June 2001

Known also as the Skeena Cellulose Paper Mill

Bleached Kraft Paper Mill.

2015 the demolition of the Mill is proceeding
City of Prince Rupert owns the mill and land at this time with lawsuits pending.

In Mar 13, 1947 the Celanese Corporation of America completed negotiations with the BC Government to build this $15,000,000 plant
They had the Capacity to produce 200-400 tons of Purified Cellulose for Chemical Purposes.
Harold Blancke was President at that time
They bought 211 acres.
This included the former US Army Deep Water Docks which were located at Port Edward.
15,000 sq miles of timber was reserved for them.
This became the first timber licence in BC, TFL #1

Originally this was the American Celanese & Chemical Manufacturing Company
changed in 1927 to Celanese Corporation of America, Head Office, Irving Texas.

Per link below they had 2, 48“ wooden Pipelines, which supplied the water required for this mill.
Water from Rainbow, Prudhomme, and Kloiyah lakes.
Originally only 1 Pipeline.
These 2 wooden pipelines parallel the highway into Port Edward, from Highway 16, and are visible from the road.
They also parallel Highway 16 to the east, but are not visible.

Original name Port Edward Cellulose Co. Ltd. a subsidiary of Celanese Corporation of America.
July 15, 1948, the company shown as Columbia Cellulose Company, Limited, wholly owned subsidiary of Celanese, incorporated Oct 28, 1946.
It was to be a high alpha pulp mill. (acetylation grade)

Feb 1909, a Mr. C. T. W. Piper, sued the Grand Trunk Pacific, because they were filling in the land between Watson Island, and their Townsite at Prince Rupert.
Mr. Piper, Vancouver BC, had a sawmill here, and was building a pulp factory here.
He claimed he had to float the logs to his sawmill, and he obviously won, as today there is a railway bridge here.
In 1900 he had a lumber mill at South Vancouver that burnt down. He refused to hire any Oriental men, and sabotage was feared.
He was from Plymouth England, came to Vancouver 1898.
Known as a Building Contractor, and a Real Estate Broker
He was also known as an expert chess player.

Charles Thomas Wood Piper
b- Mar 8, 1842 in Plymouth, England
d- Mar 14, 1924 Vancouver BC
buried in Mountain View Cemetery
1874 he lived on Tracy St, Plymouth, Devon, England
He had a Provisional design #1203, Patent?
He had a patent on a better venetian blind,
improved fastener for sliding carriage seats, and more.
Immigrated to Canada in 1891
He was also an Attorney
Family minus Minnie, Living in Victoria in 1891
Family Living in Vancouver in 1901
1921 family in Vancouver, Charles Sr. shown age 80

Father- Richard William Eastman Piper
b- 1811 in Devonport, Devon
Mother- Mary Ann Wood
b- Dec 31, 1811 in England

married Sarah Elizabeth Balkwill, bet Oct-Dec 1867, Plymouth, Reg Dist., England
b- Nov 4, 1848 in England
d- Apr 1, 1924 in Vancouver, age 77
buried in Mountain View Cemetery

son- Charles James Piper
b- Oct 14, 1868 in Plymouth, Devon, England
d- July 28, 1953, Sidney, BC, age 84
1901 Engineer in father's sawmill
married, Florence Shepherd Burnett, Mar 12, 1904, Private Res., Vancouver BC

daughter- Minnie Piper
b- July 12, 1876 in Plymouth, England
married Charles George Gordon Anderson, Mar 27, 1915 Christ Church Vancouver

Ext Links

Memory BC


  • Last modified: 2018/02/20 16:10
  • by dlgent