SOOKE HISTORY – Sawmill had humble beginnings on Goodridge Peninsula

By Elida Peers
The Sooke News Mirror
March 9, 2024
Category: Forest History & Archives
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Sooke Forest Products Sawmill in the early 1950s was located on the beautiful wooded Goodridge Peninsula. Christian Helgesen bought the peninsula, so his son’s sawmill could expand, and the site has had a remarkable history. It was used by First Nations people before immigrants brought commercial industry to Sooke Harbour and Basin. …When Helgesen’s son Harry started a sawmill on Helgesen Road after he returned from the Second World War in 1945, it became apparent that he needed more space to store logs, and the relocation began. …as the operations expanded, its structures occupied the entire peninsula, and the waiting log booms extended further into the basin. …Sooke Forest Products Sawmill went on to become one of Canada’s most efficient cedar mills, employing 400 men in shifts around the clock. Its ownership changed repeatedly, including Bill Grunow, Hershell Smith, and CPR, and in its later days, it became Lamford Forest Products.

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