Prosperity

"Bamberton’s boom years were just beginning in the early 50s and the future looked rosy. The wages were increased and I remember I was making $1.45 hour."
(Andy Bigg)

Bamberton's expansion included new kilns, crushers and dry mills, all bigger and more efficient than ever before. In 1953 the Texada Island quarry operation was discontinued and the Cobble Hill Quarry was purchased.

The company claimed there was enough limestone at Cobble Hill to provide for 50 years of operation. It was here that the largest blast on Vancouver Island, up to that time, was detonated. Twelve and a half tons of dynamite blasted loose 125,000 tons of rock. The dislodged stone only provided for two and a half months of plant production and the demand continued to rise. At first, Copley Brothers trucks brought the rock down the highway to the Bamberton road and through the village to the plant.

"I can remember our mother always yelling at us to watch out for trucks on the road and sometimes we did have to jump into the ditch to get out of the way."

A few years later a 13km company road was built from the quarry to the Bamberton site. Thirty Ton diesel trucks hauled loads 16 hour a day to keep the plant operating.

In 1955 the BC Cement Company celebrated 50 years of operation. When they merged with Ocean Cement in 1957 they became the largest cement producer in the Pacific Northwest, producing 8 million bags of cement a year.

"I thought I’d have a job at Bamberton well into the 21st century."
(Andy Bigg)

In 1959 the company presented the province with land for Bamberton Beach Park. In 1962 Bamberton was rated one of the two world's most highly efficient industrial operations.

"The plant at Bamberton possesses advanced control features unmatched in Canada and possibly the world."
(Canadian Pit and Quarry, June 1961)

Throughout BC there is evidence of the importance of cement derived from the Bamberton plant. It was used to build the major bridges and buildings in Vancouver as well as the Deas Island Tunnel. Hydroelectric projects, mining operations, and airports throughout BC. as well as the aluminium plant in Kitimat, were built with cement from Bamberton. Bamberton cement was also used to build the vast pulp and paper industry of the province as well as playing its full part in the development of the BC oil and natural gas industry.

By the end of 1964, the Bamberton plant had produced over 44 million barrels or 7 ½ million tons of Portland Cement, requiring 11 ½ million tons of limestone and secondary materials over 2 million tons of coal, 900,000 barrels of oil and 378,000 tons of gypsum. The annual payroll in 1965 exceeded $900,000 and assets totalled $16 million.

Click on images to enlarge

News of the expansion
News of the expansion
News of largest blast
News of largest blast
Road construction
Road construction
News of 50th anniversary
News of 50th anniversary
Ocean Cement sign
Ocean Cement sign
Bamberton Park sign
Bamberton Park sign
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