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.

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Creation of Virgin Pine Lumber

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).


Scotch Lumber Co. Ltd.

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.


Change Community Name

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 Changes Ownership

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.


Company Buys Timberlands

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.


Start of Beadles Lumber Company

Clarence V. Beadles, who worked at a small planer mill in Coffeeville in Northern Mississippi purchased the mill. With better timber resources located further south, Beadles moved the mill to Toomsuba, Mississippi.


Start of Balfour Lumber Company

Balfour Lumber Company begins as a division of Georgia Crate and Basket Company. The Crate Company had started a selective harvesting program for their hardwood logs and opens the sawmill division to do the same thing with pine logs from local plantations. The sawmill originally produced long timbers but expanded into framing and boards as the demand for wood products expanded.


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.


Start of Gulf Lumber

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.



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.


Beadles Lumber moves to Moultrie, Georgia


Pulp Mill Acquired at Port Mellon

Canfor moves into the pulp business by acquiring a small unbleached Kraft pulp mill owned by Howe Sound Pulp Company Limited. The mill, at Port Mellon on Howe Sound north of Vancouver, is closed when it is acquired, and 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.


Stimpson Brothers Join Gulf Lumber

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.


C. Victor Beadles Succeeds Father

After graduation from Georgia Tech, Clarence Beadles' son, C. Victor Beadles, takes over the mill.


New South Roots Start in Conway

New South has deep roots in the lumber industry of the south. The Wall, Sledge, Singleton, and Campbell families all 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.


R.C. Balfour, III Purchases Sawmill

R.C. Balfour, III purchases the sawmill operations from his father.


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.


Gulf Lumber Sells Land

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.


New South Forest Industries

In the early 1970s, several lumber manufacturing companies in the southern United States form New South Forest Industries.


Stimpson Brothers Buy 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 in 1975, and later becomes Chairman and CEO in 1985. He is now the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors.


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.


New Camden Sawmill

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.


Mack Singleton Succeeds Father

Joe Singleton dies, and is succeeded as president of New South Companies 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.


Third Generation Ownership

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


Marion Plant Built

New South builds a finger joint and specialty plant in Marion, South Carolina.


Bryant Beadles joins Beadles Lumber Company

Victor's son Bryant Beadles, leaves the wood-based panel business to join Beadles Lumber Company.


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.


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.


New South Acquires Graham Sawmill

New South acquires a sawmill in Graham, North Carolina.


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.


Beadles Purchases Balfour

In March, 2001, Victor and Bryant Beadles purchase controlling interest in Balfour Lumber Company of Thomasville, Georgia where Bryant serves as President/Co-Owner. All remaining outstanding shares were purchased in 2009.


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 acquires New South Companies

Canfor purchases New South Companies Inc. in US East Coast. Now called Canfor Southern Pine this purchase expands Canfor's product line and market reach.


Acquisition of New South

Canfor expands its product line and market reach by purchasing the operations of New South Companies Inc. in the southeast United States.

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

Canfor Southern Pine operations acquire Chesterfield Mill in Darlington, South Carolina.


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 26, 2008.


Fulton Sawmill Closes

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 and Gulf Lumber Merge

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 of Canfor Southern Pine in 2009 and is succeeded by Doug Warstler who had joined the company in 2000 as Chief Financial Officer.


Fulton Sawmill Reopens

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 January 2011.


New President and CEO

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


Rustad and Tackama

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


Canfor Pulp Innovation

Canfor Pulp Innovation Centre opened in Burnaby, BC, Canada. This is the only in-house research facility of a pulp and paper company in BC, and one of the few in Canada.

Canfor Pulp University Grant Program

Canfor Pulp launches Canfor Pulp University Grant Program to promote collaboration with research teams at the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia.


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 Pulp Management Integration

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


Canfor's 75th Anniversary

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

Scotch Gulf Lumber

Canfor completes phased purchase agreement of Scotch Gulf Lumber.


Co-operative Sales and Marketing Agreement with UPM

Canfor Pulp and UPM Pulp launch a co-operative sales and marketing agreement to provide customers with a more diverse range of products and more responsive service in North America and Japan.


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.


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.


Scotch Gulf Lumber

Canfor completes phased purchase agreement of Scotch Gulf Lumber.


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 Gulf, which joined Canfor in 2013 through a phased purchase agreement.

Canal Flats

Canfor announces that it will be permanently closing its Canal Flats sawmill effective November 9, 2015.

Anthony Forest Products Company

On October 30, Canfor completes its acquisition of Anthony Forest Products Company located in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Chetwynd Pellet Plant Opens

In partnership with Pacific Bioenergy Corporation, Canfor opens pellet plant at its Chetwynd sawmill site.


Canfor Pulp Purchases Taylor Mill from Canfor

Canfor Pulp Products Inc. purchases the Taylor, BC pulp mill from its parent company, Canfor Corporation.


Fort St. John Pellet Plant Opens

In partnership with Pacific Bioenergy Corporation, Canfor opens pellet plant at its Fort. St. John sawmill site.

Wynndel Box and Lumber Ltd.

Canfor completes purchase of Wynndel Box and Lumber Ltd. (WynnWood), located in Wynndel, BC.  


Licella Pulp Joint Venture

Canfor Pulp and Licella Fibre Fuels form a biofuels-biochemicals joint-venture agreement under the name Licella Pulp Joint Venture.


Majority Acquisition of Vida Group of Sweden

Canfor announces plans to acquire 70% of Vida Group of Sweden.

Acquisition of Elliott Sawmilling Company

Canfor announces plans to acquire Elliott Sawmilling Co., Inc.


Vida Group of Sweden

On February 28, Canfor completes majority acquisition of Vida Group of Sweden.

First Phase Purchase of Elliott Sawmilling Company

Canfor completes first phase purchase of 49% of Elliott Sawmilling Co. Inc. located in Estill, South Carolina.

Vavenby Sawmill Closed

Canfor's Vavenby sawmill permanently closed in July, 2019. Canfor reached an agreement to sell the forest tenure associated with the Vavenby sawmill to Interfor.

Peter Bentley Retires

Peter Bentley, former CEO and Chairman and the son of the company co-founder, L.L.G. "Poldi" Bentley officially retires from both Canfor and Canfor Pulp Board of Directors.


Closing of Vavenby Tenure Transfer

Canfor announces the completion of the transfer of the Vavenby tenure to Interfor in March.

Isle Pierre Sawmill Closed

In the aftermath of the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canfor’s Isle Pierre sawmill is closed permanently in May 2020.

Canfor Completes Purchase of Elliot Sawmilling Company.

Further to its announcement in 2018, Canfor completes the purchase of Elliott Sawmilling Company Inc. in May.

Canfor Subsidiary Closes Acquisition of Strategic Assets

Canfor’s 70% owned subsidiary, Vida Group, completes the purchases of three sawmills located in Sweden from Bergs Timber.


DeRidder Investment

Canfor announces it will invest approximately $160 million USD to build a new, state-of-the-art sawmill near DeRidder, Louisiana.

New Sustainability Goals

In October, Canfor announces their bold ambition to become a leader in sustainability, which includes commitments to sustainable forestry, a stronger focus on safety, health, wellness, inclusion and diversity amongst employees, and strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities.

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Arbios Biotech Investment

Canfor announces it's investment decision in support of the construction of the first phase of Arbios Biotech’s (Arbios) innovative biomass to low carbon biofuel plant in Prince George, British Columbia. Arbios is a joint venture between Canfor and Licella Holdings Ltd.

Acquisition of Millar Western Assets

Canfor announces that it has entered into an agreement with Millar Western Forest Products to acquire the company’s solid wood operations and associated tenure, the assets consist of three operations.


Canfor Pulp Leadership Change

Canfor Pulp announces the appointment of Kevin Edgson as President and CEO effective April 11, 2022.


Millar Western Acquisition Complete

On March 1, Canfor announces the completion of the purchase of Millar Western Forest Products Ltd.'s solid wood operations in Alberta. Canfor Whitecourt, Canfor Fox Creek and Canfor Spruceland join Canfor's western Canada operations and add 630 million board feet of production capacity.

Investment in Urbana Operation

To capitalize on the abundant supply of high-quality fiber, Canfor announces its intention to invest approximately $130 million USD to significantly upgrade and expand its sawmill and planer facility located in Urbana in Union County, Arkansas.

Net Zero Company By 2050

Building on its sustainability strategy, Canfor announces the implementation of a comprehensive plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

New Facility in Alabama

Equipped with leading technology, Canfor announces its plan to invest approximately $210 million USD to build a new, state-of-the-art sawmill complex in southern Alabama.

Restructuring of B.C. Operations

To better align manufacturing capacity in B.C., Canfor restructures its B.C. operations by permanently closing its Chetwynd sawmill and pellet plant and temporarily closing its Houston sawmill for an extended period to facilitate a major redevelopment on the site.


Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill's Pulp Line Closed

Due to reductions in the allowable cut and challenges accessing cost-competitive fibre, the pulp line at the Prince George Pulp and Paper mill is closed.