Utility Coals-Boundary Mine

Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

Utility Coals Ltd

Boundary Mine History

As early as 1937 Fred Mannix & Co. Ltd. out of Calgary AB, had contracts for stripping work in the Estevan area.
Saskatchewan Power Corporation (SPC), started exploring coal reserves in the late summer of 1952, in the area of what is now, Boundary Dam.
So named, due to the close proximity to the American border.
In the fall of 1956, SPC called for tenders to supply coal to the new Boundary Dam Power Station.

Alberta Coal Ltd, formed and owned by the Mannix family, bid on the job, and were successful.
Sheldon (Si) A. Fraser was appointed President.
Utility Coals Ltd, a wholly owned Subsidiary, was formed in early 1957, with C.F. (Chuck) Doerr (General Manager)
With Si Fraser, Chuck Doerr, W.J. (Bill) Blackstock, (the Chief Engineer) and Homer Bish (Mine Manager), they started from the beginning.
They started production in 1958

In 1959:
Head Office was 340-7th Ave., Calgary AB, with an Estevan, Saskatchewan Office, ph# MErcury 4-3433

In 1967:
PO Box 760 Estevan Saskatchewan, Louie H. Carriere, Mine Manager

In 1973:
Shown as Manalta Coal Ltd, Utility Mine Office- Estevan Sask
Head Office 300-9th Ave. SW Calgary AB

Klimax mine is now listed with Utility Mine, under Manalta Coal Ltd., under the Loram Group of Companies

At Boundary Mine, Utility Coals Ltd, in 1970 they were using the 70 ton coal Haulers, which can carry an entire rail car load at a time.
These were loaded with a 170B shovel, with a 10 cubic yd bucket, a 100B 5 cubic yd shovel, and a 120B 6 cubic yd shovel,
Maintaining a stockpile of coal, of approx 125,000 tons, at the Boundary Dam Plant
In 1970 they had 6 of the 70 ton Euclid Coal haulers

Mannix had a long term contract to work this mine, which was owned by SPC. The Klimax Mine they owned outright.

View of the Utility Coals Ltd. Maintenance shop in March 1957, shortly after the shop was built.
In the background is the Boundary Dam Power Plant, operated by SPC.

Proof my dad actually worked at the mine, this picture was taken Aug 1959.
L-R- Bob Lamy, (Groundhog)
Reg Matthias (Driver)
Cliff Tisdale (Carpenter)
Merv Enmark (Driver)
Bob Leslie (Welder)
Phil Gent (Flagman) (and my Dad)
Morrell Ewaski (Machine Shop Foreman)

After many years as flagman, my Dad became the Watchman Janitor in the shop pictured above, until he retired, Feb 29,1977
I was only in that shop a few times, many years ago, as a small boy, but I remember that door and that clock like it was yesterday. Funny how a picture will trigger a long lost memory.

My Dad, Phil Gent, leaving the Utility Coals Ltd office in 1963
That Utility Coal sign would have been painted by him.
He hand painted many signs for the mine.

Dave James, Homer Bish, Dick Wilsey, inside the 20 Cu Yd Bucket of the 750B shovel
Homer Bish in the center of this picture was the Mine Manager, who hired my dad.
Him and his wife Lenore, were renting my Mom and Dad's new house at 837 Isabelle St in Hillside from 1957 to July 1958, when we moved into the same house.
He was a very good boss, and a kind man. Our family stayed friends with the Bish family, up until their passing.
on the left edge you can see his station wagon, which appears in many of these photos. Wished I had that today!
Homer was one of the 4 Bish Brothers, who operated a coal mine in the Forestburg, Galahad area of Flagstaff County, Alberta.
Bish Brothers and LeGear mine at one point.
Tipple of the Bish mine was on NW 6- 41- 15
It was sold to Luscar Company in 1949
There is still members of the Bish family living in this area.

Homer Bish
b- Feb 15, 1917
d- ?
First child of Fred Bish and Emma Bish, nee Smith
who were married Mar 18, 1916

Mildred (Mrs. J. M. Whyte),
Twins: Grant Bish and Barbara Bish,
Denver Bish,
Walter Bish
Twins: Bill Bish and Mabel Bish (Mrs. Don Black),
Austia Bish (Mrs. Bruce Palmer)

Homer worked in Trail BC in 1937
He met and married Lenore there.
Lenore Bish, nee ?
b- ? , possibly in Trail BC
d- 1995 in Alberta

Homer and Lenore had 3 daughters:
1. Marilyn Bish
b- ? , Trail BC

2. Carol Ann Bish
b- ca 1942 in Galahad AB,
d- June 2005, age 63
living in in Peace River AB, when she passed away
Carol attended ECI, married Larry Rohatyn

3. Susan Bish
b- ?, Galahad AB

1939 Homer moved back to Alberta to work on his father's coal mine
1952 became Manager at Forestburg Colleries.
1957 moved to Estevan, Manager of Utility Coals.
1962 moved to Alberta as Manager of Manalta Coal's Wabamum mine.
1974 left Manalta Coal, joined Saskatchewan Power Corporation (SPC) as manager of mining, where he retired Feb 28, 1982.
Homer and Lenore lived in Stony Plain AB

Homer's Grandfather Austin Bish
Grandmother- Amelia Louise Bish
Grandparents came to Alberta in 1905 from Ashland Oregon, USA

Utility Mine Manager, 1979, Mr. W. F. Kelly

My Dad's 1958 and 1971 time card
My Dad was there in 1958 For the first load of Coal to Boundary Dam, and in 1971, when they last used this style of time card. $1.55/ hr in 1958 and $3.45/hr in 1971

Wide Brim Aluminum hat
my Dad wore at Utility Coals as a Watchman Janitor in the 1960's
These are still used today by Oil workers etc. see photo above

Utility Coals (1978) Ltd.
My Dad's cap

My Dad's Final Hard Hat
Manalta Coal Ltd
and his name P.Gent in red dymo tape.
worn when he retired, and noted on front, with his retirement date of Feb 28, 1977


  • Last modified: 2018/02/20 12:25
  • by dlgent