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St.Marys Paper

St. Marys Paper occupies the earliest industrially developed site in Northern Ontario. Although French explorers visited the area as early as 1622, development did not begin until 1784 when a trading post was established by the Northwest Company on the site. The post consisted of the Chief Factor's house, a powder magazine, a barrack and a number of warehouses. The warehouses stored merchandise destined for western and northern trading posts and also furs bound for Montreal.
The first canal connecting lakes Superior and Huron was completed in 1798. A replica of this "bateau lock" is currently located north of the main office building.

On the south side of the lock, a water-powered sawmill with two saws was constructed. Government records show that 14 men were employed directly by the Northwest Company in 1802, in addition to the voyageurs living in Sault Ste. Marie, who supplied the crews for bateaux and freight canoes.

During the war of 1812, an armed force of 150 United States soldiers attacked Sault Ste. Marie, destroying all buildings and structures, including the locks. Only the stone walls of the magazine remained. A particularly serious loss was the destruction of the sawmill, the only one in the entire North West.

Shortly after the attack a temporary post was constructed at the mouth of the Fort Creek, approximately ¼ mile east of the original site. The Hudson's Bay Company opened a permanent post in 1842. It remained in service until 1867.

Sault Ste. Marie Industrial Development

Major industrial development began in Sault Ste. Marie just prior to 1890. During that period, a group of Philadelphia entrepreneurs, under the leadership of Francis H. Clergue of Bangor, Maine, became interested in constructing a hydro electric plant, harnessing the waterpower available from the St. Marys River.

Shortly there after, Clergue established the Lake Superior Corporation and began construction of a groundwood pulp mill which became operational in 1896. The pulp grinders were pocket-type, driven directly through mortise gears, from vertical water wheels. Pulp produced was dried on single cylinder steam heated dryers. It was shipped in rolls, by steamer, directly from the docks below the grinder room.

In 1899, a sulphite mill was constructed. It consisted of two 17ft. diameter by 54 ft. high, lead lined vertical digesters. They were in operation until September, 1903, when they were shut down due to financial difficulties and unfavourable market conditions.

Lake Superior Paper Company

The Lake Superior Paper Company began construction of the area's first newsprint paper machines in 1911. By the following summer PM1 and PM2 were commissioned. By the end of 1913, PM3 and PM4 were also operational.

Spanish River Pulp & Paper Mills Ltd.

In 1917, the Lake Superior Paper Company and the Spanish River Pulp & Paper Mills Ltd. amalgamated. Improvements to the groundwood pulp mill took place in 1918 and 1926 to meet the increasing demands of the paper machines.

Abitibi Power & Paper Company

The Abitibi Power and Paper Company assumed ownership of the mill on August 1st, 1928. In 1929 and 1930, all four paper machines underwent major improvements. Demand for newsprint kept these machines operating continuously until World War II when one machine was shut down for a short period due to lack of pulpwood.

Following the war, capital expenditures continued within the mill, including the installation of three debarking drums, a new grinder room, upgraded screening systems, modernized groundwood and sulphite screening systems, new boiler house equipment and numerous paper machine upgrades. In addition to newsprint, groundwood specialty papers such as directory and catalog were now manufactured. Capacity was increased to 400 tons per day.

In 1947 the Central Research Division of Abitibi was relocated to the mill site. Many notable contributions to pulp and paper industry originated from this group.

10/15/1997 became Abitibi-Price Inc

5/29/1997 became Abitibi-Consolidated

St. Marys Paper Inc.

In 1984, a change in ownership and product occurred. Dan Alexander, an American investor purchased the mill from Abitibi renaming it St. Marys Paper Inc. Modifications to PM3 and PM4 and the installation of two Supercalenders made the production of SCB grades possible. In 1988, the construction of a new paper machine, PM5, was completed, giving the mill the capacity of producing SCA grades. In addition, new Tampella grinders were also installed to meet the increased demand for pulp.

St. Marys Paper Ltd.

In 1994, mill employees and a group of outside investors lead by Ron Stern, assumed ownership of the mill. An influx of capital led to improvements in quality and productivity.

This mill enjoyed its "100th" anniversary of operation in 1995, and looks to continuing its development of high value-added printing grades.

Spring 2010 mill closed.

December 30, 2011 entered receivership. Mill closed.

April 2012 property bought by Riversedge Developments Inc. a brownfield site developer. Some buidlings demolished.


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