Workers cut track ties at a Canadian Pacific Railway portable sawmill in British Columbia.
This photograph was taken in 1936 at Camp 14, a portable sawmill operating on the east side of the Kootenay River, more than twenty kilometres from Canal Flats, British Columbia. The camp was operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the workers were cutting railway ties from larch logs.
The mills operated in all seasons and were well-suited to British Columbia’s dry interior forests. The CPR had extensive tie reserves in the Kootenay River Valley, and the portable mill was moved around the cut block as needed.
In the middle of the photo is Gordon Kennedy, holding a dog named Pug. On the right is Jim Robinson, who was born in Lethbridge in May 1905, just a few months before Alberta became a province. Robinson had a long career in the British Columbia Forest Service, ending as a scaling inspector in the Kamloops Forest District.
As can be seen in the photo, hard hats were not required in 1936! Frozen logs were among the hazards for workers, and Robinson had his front teeth knocked out shortly after this photo was taken.