In our ongoing series of blog posts featuring the B.C. places used in the Irving K. Barber Centre room names, this week we will take a look at Kitimat. Kitimat was established as a company town in the truest sense. It was established when the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) built a hydroelectric dam and smelter in the area in the 1950’s. Its entry in B.C. Geographical Names shows the name Kitimat was used for a village in the area in the early 20th century, but was rescinded mere years before Alcan established the new town.
Rare Books and Special Collections has an excellent source of primary materials related to the planning and establishment of Kitimat by Alcan in the Thomas McDonald fonds. McDonald was an urban planner who worked primarily in Greater Vancouver, but the fonds also contains files that appear to be from the Alcan offices related to the establishment of Kitimat. As examples, the two images below show plans for the city:
The files also contain a wealth of textual records including agreements between Alcan and the Province of B.C., promotional material, and office documents regarding the plans for town development.
For help using our archival resources, check out our research guide for archival material.
In the Barber Centre, the Kitimat Lab is part of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, on the 4th floor.