Kemano- Mid 1950's, Walker Photos

Kemano, British Columbia, Canada

Alcan Hydro-Electric Project
Kemano and Kitimat BC

All built by Alcan Smelters and Chemicals
(Company name now Rio Tinto Alcan)

Kemano- Range 4, Coast Land District.
Latitude- 53° 34' 00“ N, Longitude 127° 57' 00” W
located 75 km ( 47mi) south of Kitimat, BC

City of Kitimat-
Latitude- 54° 0' 0“ N / Longitude 128° 42' 0” W
The name Kitimat is a Tsimshian reference to the Haisla First Nation “People of the Snow”
who are the original inhabitants of the Kitimat Valley
Located In the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.
52 Km South of Terrace BC

Terrace / Kitimat Airport YXT

When it was built, it was largest privately-funded construction project ever undertaken in Canada at that time.
It is truly amazing, reversing a river flow, huge dam, extreme tunnel building for water and powerhouse,
unbelievable transmission tower placement, An aluminum smelter, and 2 new towns, all built in a few short years.

July 1949 they announced in newspaper articles surveys of the area were in progress,
Estimated costs of the whole Project over a 5 year period, was $350 to $500 Million Dollars.
Final cost was closer to the last estimate.

Alcan was looking at 2 other sites for the project in BC.
Head of Dean Channel, 90 miles from Ocean Falls, and the head of Bute Inlet.

The Smelter at Kitimat, went into production August 3, 1954,
Officially opened by:

  • HRH Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • and Alcan's President, Ray Edwin “Rep” Powell

When they poured a 50lb ingot.

Workmen had to sign up for 90 days minimum, which would entitle them to their fare paid from Vancouver to Kitimat.

The Engineering surveys alone cost $900,000.00.
They were expected to take 2 years.
The use of helicopters for the first time, shortened the time for the surveys, and construction, some say by months, some years.

Most of the photos on these Kemano web pages, were taken, or saved as memorabilia, by Mr. Thomas Raymond “Bud” Walker, who worked at Kemano, during it's early stages of building.
His family lived there in the mid 50's. His son Grant F. Walker, who lives in California, was kind enough to send these to me, to share here.
He tried to share these with Alcan in Kitimat, a few years ago, but they were not all that interested, and were just going to send them all to the Montreal Head Office.
There they would have sat in a file, not to be seen, so their loss, is our gain.
Some of these photos are one of a kind.
Grant is also producing a DVD from old 8mm film his Dad took in the area. Not many had a movie camera in those days
I will try and incorporate parts of the film in this web site.

He is shown as T. R. Walker, on a wallet card, Morrison Knudsen Company, Inc. (M-K)
Incorporated in 1932
They controlled the entire construction site of Kemano
You needed this card on your person at all times to work at the site.
You can view my brief page on their history,
link in the Index section, on the left.

Alcan sold over $24 million in used equipment, sometime after Jan 10, 1955, via S.J.S. Machinery Company, New York
Can't find anything on this company.

As you will see, since Grant was kind enough to send these photos to start this site off, I have made contact with others who worked in Kemano,
and are also willing to share their photos. The links to these extra pages are on the left side, the Index to all my pages.
Thanks to all contributors.

BC Premier was Björn Ingemar “Bjossi” Jönsson
anglicised to Byron Ingemar “Boss” Johnson.
b- December 10, 1890 in Victoria BC
d- January 12, 1964 in Victoria BC, age 73
Buried in Ross Bay Cemetery

Lands and Forest Minister was E. T. Kenney.
ET Kenney School, and Kenney St. in Terrace and
The Kenney Dam, part of this project, were named after
Hon. Edward Tourtellotte Kenney
b- July 19, 1888, Clarks Harbour, Shelburne Co., NS
d- Sept 18, 1974, in Victoria BC, age 86
Represented Skeena riding as MLA for years.
married- Janet Leila Brooks, July 21, 1915 in Terrace BC
b- 1895, in St. Mary's ON
d- May 8, 1988 in Terrace BC age 92
She was the daughter of Thomas Brooks, and Adelina Little

Father of Edward- Daniel Vincent Kenney,
b- June 6, 1848, Cape Sable Island, NS,
he was a Master Mariner in 1888.
Mother- Margaret Cheney Newell,
married Dec 30, 1873 in Shelburne Co., NS
b- ca 1852
Sister- Gertrude M. Newell, nee Kenney, b- Apr 16, 1878

Grandfather- Daniel Vincent Kenney,
b- Aug 3, 1809 at Barrington, NS
Great Grandfather- Joseph Kenney,
b- June 8, 1783 at Barrington, NS

GG Grandfather- Isaac Kenney, b- abt 1755
GGG Grandfather- Heman Kenney, b- ca 1732
Kenney is an old Nova Scotian family

I am an amateur genealogist, so you will see that style shows up in many of the pages.
If I print a person's name, I have to try and find his/her family history, I just can't help myself !
Do not take my records as exact. Use as it as a clue, and do your own research.


  • Last modified: 2018/02/20 17:07
  • by dlgent