Celebrating 50 Years at Kamloops Mill

The development of the south shore of the Thompson River—the present day Mission Flats area—began more than a century before the first pulp mill was built.

The Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Thompson, built in 1843, became a stopping point for Oblate Missionaries (Fathers of Immaculate Mary) who were traveling across Western Canada.

The gold rush later in the 1800s brought this area of British Columbia its initial prosperity, with trade, industry and infrastructure. Positioned where the North and South Thompson Rivers join, Kamloops was an ideal location for early settlers because of its abundant wildlife, water and farmland. It grew sporadically for the next several decades.

In the early 1960s, three local sawmill owners developed the area’s first pulp mill, with financial backing from Weyerhaeuser Company. The mill produced its first bales of bleached kraft pulp on Nov. 30, 1965.

The owners announced plans for expansion, but later chose to build a second, larger mill that would produce bleached kraft pulp from wood chips and to modify the original mill to produce bleached kraft pulp from sawdust, quadrupling the overall capacity.

The bigger and better Kamloops Mill produced its first pulp Oct. 6, 1972, and the first sustained run of quality bleached kraft sawdust pulp in North America began there Nov. 15.

Investments continued at the mill in the following years, enhancing its production, improving its environmental footprint and maximizing power generation.

The Kamloops Mill officially became part of the new Domtar in March 2007 as part of the Weyerhaeuser/Domtar combination involving fine paper and pulp assets in the U.S. and Canada.

The new Domtar flag and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, (C.E.P.) Local 10-B flag were raised over the mill, and the Kamyr Digester Building, which had sported a Weyerhaeuser sign since it was built in the 1990s, got a new look with Domtar signage.


Investments continued at the mill in the following years, enhancing its production, improving its environmental footprint and maximizing power generation.


In 2009, Domtar received $140 million as part of the federal government’s $1 billion Pulp and Paper Green Transformation program for energy and environmental projects in Canada. A portion of these funds, paired with $9 million of Domtar capital, made possible a variety of projects that will provide environmental, energy and cost benefits for years to come.

In addition, the mill is working with the local union and Thompson Rivers University on a special training initiative to develop the next generation of manufacturers in the region. The company and community are looking forward to continuing excellence in the years ahead.

Share