Our Rich History

Canfor is a story of people; about how two entrepreneurs created an enterprise that grew from a modest beginning to become one of Canada's major forest products companies. The company traces its roots to the late 1930s, when brothers-in-law John G. Prentice and L.L.G. "Poldi" Bentley and their families left their native Austria as the clouds of war gathered over Europe.

Explore our history: Scroll down

Scotch Lumber Company

Scotch Lumber Company is the oldest wood products company in Clarke County, Alabama. In 1888, Marcus B. Berhman and Joseph Zimmerman establish Virgin Pine Lumber Co. at Wade’s Station, Alabama (later called Behrman).


Virgin Pine Lumber

Dr. Alexander McTaggart of Park Hill, Ontario, buys Virgin Pine Lumber and sells a one-third interest a year later to Charles Norman Spencer. William Spencer (relationship to Charles unknown) moves to Alabama where he and McTaggart form a partnership under the name Scotch Lumber Co. Ltd. in honour of their Scottish heritage.


Scotch Lumber

George R. Hannon and others from New York State purchase Scotch Lumber and change the name of the community from Behrman to Fulton after their hometown in New York.


May Lumber Company

Ben May, a businessman born in Atlanta in 1889, founds the May Lumber Company with his brother. May Lumber acquires cut-over timber properties with the aim of reforesting them – an innovative idea in the early 1900s.

May Lumber provides free dunnage for shipping companies taking cargo to Europe during the First World War on the condition that the company owns the lumber once the ship is unloaded. Since the lumber is considered used, it avoids the high tariffs for lumber entering European ports and is sold at a considerable profit.


Scotch Lumber

Two Wisconsin residents – William D. Harrigan and Fredrick Herrick – buy Scotch Lumber, its land holdings and its logging railroad operation, the Alabama and Tombigbee Railroad Company. They later buy large tracts of land from the Sage Land Company. Descendants of Harrigan and related families would own and operate the company for the next 107 years.

William Harrigan wants his employees to enjoy the best conveniences so he builds the first good road to the local county seat at Grove Hill, establishes station telephone service, installs a water pump house and water well, and provides rental houses and a commissary for groceries and other supplies. He even builds Clarke County’s first four-hole golf course, swimming hole and motion picture theatre.


Land Purchase in Southwest Alabama

Ben May is invited to invest in land in southwest Alabama to form a hunting preserve with his long-time friend Fred Stimpson. He buys the tract to produce timber, and gives Stimpson life-long hunting rights and part ownership in return for managing the property. The company also buys timberlands in Alabama, Florida and California.


Fulton Sawmill Burns

Scotch Lumber’s Fulton sawmill burns. The company, struggling to survive during the Depression, decides not to reopen the mill. Small peckerwood sawmills continue to operate in Scotch’s forests, and in 1938 a new sawmill is built.


Pacific Veneer

Only months after settling in Vancouver, John Prentice and Poldi Bentley form a furniture and paneling veneer company calling it Pacific Veneer. They build a small mill, which employs 28 people, on the banks of the Fraser River in New Westminster, B.C. In 1939, Pacific Veneer becomes a supplier of plywood for aviation and marine applications, as well as Douglas fir plywood and the mill soon employs 1,000 men and women.

The two men lay the foundation for a business that could grow. And they have already begun to integrate their operations, creating a company that could rely on its own internal strengths



In 1940, they buy Eburne Saw Mills Limited, located near the mouth of the Fraser River, and upgrade and convert it to cut hemlock and balsam.

With the Eburne purchase, the company becomes a shareholder in Seaboard Lumber Sales Ltd., a Vancouver-based wood products marketing and shipping consortium. Seaboard gives the company better access to important offshore markets at competitive freight rates.


Gulf Lumber Company

Ben May founds and becomes president of Gulf Lumber Company in Mobile, Alabama. He converts a cooperage plant into a lumber concentration yard that evolves into a sawmill. The mill produces lumber needed during the Second World War.


Harrison Operations

In 1943, they purchase four or five small logging operations in the Fraser Valley.


Englewood Logging Division

The drive to secure a stable log supply continues with the purchase of timber rights in the Nimpkish Valley on Vancouver Island in 1944, which becomes the Englewood Logging Division.


Company Renamed

Included in the Nimpkish purchase is a small firm called Canadian Forest Products Limited, a name that strikes a chord with John Prentice and Poldi Bentley. In 1947, they reorganize all their operations under that name.


huntting merrit

With the purchase of Huntting-Merritt in 1948, which together with Stave Lake Cedar, makes the company the largest red cedar shingle and shake producer. Also in 1948, Panel and Fibre starts production of hardboard made from residuals.


Pulp Mill Acquired at Port Mellon

It is now time to reach for new opportunities. The company moves into the pulp business with the acquisition of a small unbleached kraft pulp mill at Port Mellon on Howe Sound. Howe Sound Pulp Company Limited, which is closed when acquired in 1951, is steadily expanded and upgraded to produce bleached pulp.

Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited incorporates on March 29, 1988 as a 50/50 joint venture company between Canfor Corporation and Oji Paper Co., Ltd. of Japan.


Gulf Lumber Mill

Ben May hires brothers Billy, Ben and Gordon Stimpson to operate the Gulf Lumber mill.


North Canadian Forest Industries Limited

In 1955, Canfor purchases 50 per cent of Northern Plywood Ltd. in Grande Prairie, Alberta. The other 50 per cent is purchased later, along with several other bush mills in the area. They are now consolidated into our Grande Prairie Logging Division.


Canfor Southern Pine

The businesses which are now part of Canfor Southern Pine have deep roots in the lumber industry of the south. The Wall, Sledge, Singleton, and Campbell families and joined together with their diverse backgrounds in the forest products business to build a sawmill near Conway, SC in 1957.


CFP Awarded Pulp Wood Agreement

In 1962, CFP gains a pulp wood agreement in the Prince George Area. This leads to a joint venture with Reed Paper Group Limited of the U.K. to create Prince George Pulp and Paper.


Chetwynd Division

The company expands into the northern British Columbia interior in 1963, purchasing several sawmills and planer mills in the Peace River District including the timber rights and mills of the Fort St. John Lumber Company. These holdings are consolidated into the company's Chetwynd Division the following year.


Prince George Pulp and Paper

In 1962, a joint venture with Reed Paper Group Limited of the U.K. leads to the start-up of Prince George Pulp and Paper in 1965.


Intercontinental Pulp Company

Another joint venture with Reed and Feldmuehle AG of Germany creates Intercontinental Pulp Company Ltd., which starts up in 1968. Prince George Pulp and Paper and Intercontinental Pulp are now wholly owned by Canfor Corporation.


Sale of Gulf Lumber

Gulf Lumber sells 50,000 acres in Florida to International Paper.



The Hines Creek mill in Alberta is built in 1969 and production begins in early 1970.


Gulf Lumber Mill

Ben May dies, and the Stimpson brothers buy the Gulf Lumber mill in Mobile.


Westcoast Cellufibre

Canfor acquires a majority interest in Westcoast Cellufibre Industries Ltd., a supplier of chips to Howe Sound Pulp mill, in 1973. Westcoast Cellufibre is now a division of Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited.


Peter Bentley

Peter Bentley, who has worked in a variety of positions for more than 20 years, becomes President and CEO. He is now the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors.


Pacific Veneer

Only months after settling in Vancouver, John Prentice and Poldi Bentley form a furniture and paneling veneer company calling it Pacific Veneer. They build a small mill, which employs 28 people, on the banks of the Fraser River in New Westminster, B.C. In 1939, Pacific Veneer becomes a supplier of plywood for aviation and marine applications, as well as Douglas fir plywood and the mill soon employs 1,000 men and women.

The two men lay the foundation for a business that could grow. And they have already begun to integrate their operations, creating a company that could rely on its own internal strengths.


Fort St. John

An important expansion in the north occurs in 1981 when the company acquires Swanson Lumber Co. Ltd., which has major sawmills and woodlands operations in High Level, Alberta and Fort St. John, B.C.


Canfor Corporation

On June 27, 1983 Canfor Corporation becomes a public company. Canadian Forest Products Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canfor Corporation.


Canfor Southern Pine

A new modern sawmill is built in Camden, SC in partnership with Stora of Sweden. A few years later it becomes a wholly owned operation of New South.


Canfor Southern Pine

Joe Singleton dies and is succeeded by his son Mack.


Balfour Guthrie

In 1989 Canfor acquires all of the shares of Balfour Forest Products Inc., which includes the Clear Lake, Netherlands, Taylor and Polar operations.


Gulf Lumber

A third generation – Fred, Sandy and Ben Stimpson Jr., and Mitch Shackleford – take on ownership of Gulf Lumber.


Northwood Inc.

In 1999 Canfor acquires all of the shares of Northwood Inc., which includes the Northwood Pulp Mill, Prince George Sawmill, North Central Plywoods, Rustad, Houston and Upper Fraser operations and the Kyahwood Forest Products joint venture and J.D. Little Forest Centre. The acquisition makes Canfor Canada's largest producer of softwood lumber and kraft market pulp.


Howe Sound Pulp and Paper

Canfor Corporation and Oji Paper Co., Ltd. complete the reorganization of their joint venture, Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited, as a limited partnership. The partnership, now known as Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Limited Partnership, is jointly owned by Canfor and Oji, and carries on the existing operations of Howe Sound.


Daaquam Lumber Inc and Produit Forestiers Anticosti Inc

Canfor purchases Daaquam Lumber Inc. and Produit Forestiers Anticosti Inc., two privately owned lumber and timber harvesting companies based in Quebec


BC Chemicals

Canfor sells BC Chemicals, a division of Canadian Forest Products Ltd., to Chemtrade Logistics Income Fund.


Slocan Forest Products

Canfor purchases Slocan Forest Products Ltd. increasing the company's production to over 5 billion board feet per year.



Englewood division sale to Western Forest Products Ltd.


Canfor Southern Pine

New South Companies is acquired by Canfor.


New South Companies Inc.

Canfor purchases New South Companies Inc. in US East Coast. With a proud history dating back to 1957, New South Companies - now Canfor Southern Pine - expands Canfor's product line and market reach.


Houston Pellet Limited Partnership

Canadian Forest Products Ltd., Pinnacle Pellet Inc., and the Moricetown Band form a partnership for the development of a wood pellet production facility to be located adjacent to the Canadian Forest Products Ltd. sawmill in Houston, BC.


Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership/Canfor Pulp Income Fund

Canfor separates its pulp business from its wood products business. Canfor transfers to an indirectly owned limited partnership, its northern softwood kraft pulp and paper business, including its Northwood Pulp Mill, Intercontinental Pulp Mill and Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill, together with associated management and employees (the "Pulp Income Trust").


M.W. Smith Lumber Co

Gulf Lumber purchases the old M.W. Smith Lumber Co. sawmill in Jackson, Alabama, from Boise, remodels it and operates it.


Chesterfield Mill

Fourth Quarter 2007, Canfor acquires Chesterfield Mill in Darlington, South Carolina as part of its New South operations.


Panel and Fibre

January 8, 2008, Canfor permanently closes its Panel and Fibre operation in New Westminster, B.C.


North Central Plywood

July 30, 2008, Canfor announces that it will not rebuild its North Central Plywood plant in Prince George, B.C., which is destroyed by fire on May 26th, 2008.


Fulton Sawmill

Scotch Lumber closes its Fulton sawmill because of difficult economic conditions, idling 100 workers. Gulf Lumber has a broader product mix so it continues to operate despite the downed economy.



Scotch Lumber Co. and Gulf Lumber Co. merge, with the Harrison and O’Melia families of Scotch and the Stimpson family of Gulf as owners, and administrative offices in Mobile.


Mack Singleton Retires

Mack Singleton retires from presidency in 2009 and is succeeded by Doug Warstler who had joined the company in 2000 as Chief Financial Officer.


Fulton Sawmill

Scotch Gulf makes $3 million in renovations to the Fulton sawmill and reopens it.


Howe Sound Pulp and Paper

Canfor sells its interest in the Howe Sound Pulp & Paper Mill in Port Mellon, B.C. as well as Coastal Fibre Limited Partnership to Paper Excellence, a Netherlands based unit of Sinar Mas Group.


Clear Lake

Canfor announces that it will be permanently closing its Clear Lake sawmill effective Jan 2011.


New President and CEO

May 5th, 2011, Don B. Kayne is appointed as President and CEO.


Rustad and Tackema

Canfor announces the permanent closure of its Rustad and Tackema facilities.


Canfor Pulp

Canfor and Canfor Pulp integrate management of operations with Don Kayne as CEO of both companies.


Elko and Canal Flats

Canfor acquires Elko and Canal Flats mills, as well as over one million cubic metres of annual harvesting rights, from Tembec Industries.


Canfor's 75th Anniversary

Canfor marks 75 years in business with events in Canada, the United States, Japan and China.



Scotch Gulf Lumber

Canfor Corp. and Scotch Gulf Lumber announce a phased purchased agreement that will see Canfor’s ownership increase until 2016 when it will own Scotch Gulf.


Scotch Gulf Lumber

Canfor completes phased purchase agreement of Scotch Gulf Lumber


Quesnel Facility Closed

In the aftermath of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, Canfor’s Quesnel facility is closed permanently on March 17, 2014


Sale of Daaquam Facility

Canfor sells its Daaquam facility in Quebec to Groupe Lebel Inc.


Southern Lumber Company

Canfor Purchases Mill from Southern Lumber Company


Purchase of Beadles and Balfour

On August 1, 2014 Canfor announced the purchase of Beadles and Balfour Lumber’s facilities in Moultrie and Thomasville, Georgia.


Beadles and Balfour

Canfor completes phased purchase agreement of Beadles and Balfour Lumber Companies


Fred Stimpson follows Doug Warstler as president.

He was CEO of Scotch Pine, which joined Canfor in 2013 through a phased purchase agreement.