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Location DB > Canada > British Columbia > Ocean Falls > Ocean Falls
Ocean Falls
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 Database Info
created by Forgotten BC on 1/9/2013 9:36 PM
last modified by Forgotten BC on 1/9/2013 9:42 PM
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Ocean Falls is a community on the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Formerly a large company town owned by Crown Zellerbach, it is only accessible via boat or seaplane, and is home for a few dozen full-time residents, with the seasonal population upwards of 100.

Ocean Falls is noted for its abundance of rain - about 4,390 millimetres (172.8 in) annually, and its residents are sometimes referred to as the "Rain People."

Today, much of the town has been demolished, and many of the remaining buildings are in decay. Nevertheless, Ocean Falls maintains a residential community and a social network of former residents.

At its largest, Ocean Falls was the home to around 3900 people, a K-12 school system, its own hospital, one of the province's largest hotels and a swimming pool where several swimming champions trained.

Ocean Falls was a typical, single-employer town where the company operated and maintained the complete town site. A town site manager working in a town site office, managed the allocation of apartments and houses on behalf of the people living in town. Utilities such as water, electricity and heat were subsidized by the company. The rental cost of accommodation was also quite reasonable permitting the residents of Ocean Falls to live rather inexpensively.

The town consisted of a blend of fairly large apartments, duplexes and single family homes. Most of the buildings were located on the fairly steep slope of the Caro Marion mountain. The town's main store and several other smaller businesses were located along the harbour front. The Ocean Falls Court House, the Legion Hall, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police building and the Post office are also in the harbour area.

Most of the roads leading up the hills away from the harbour area were heavily constructed timber roads. These roads were capable of carrying large vehicles such as trucks or fire engines. There were very few cars in town and usually only one taxi cab.

 Basic Information
Type: Town
Status: Active
Accessibility: Difficult
Recommendation: check it out if you're nearby
 Physical Information

Ocean Falls, British Columbia
Owner: Crown Zellerbach
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  •  Hazards
     Interesting Features
    Courthouse, City Hall, Jail, views from surrounding mountains
     Security Measures
  • 24 hour guard
  • wooden boarding
  • Residents
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1906
    Closed: 1980
     Required Equipment
  • binoculars
  • gloves
  • Camera
  •  Recommended Equipment

    The Heiltsuk native speaking people inhabited the coastal region surrounding Ocean Falls for more than 9,000 years. In 1903, the Bella Coola Pulp and Paper Company surveyed the area and was impressed with the hydro power potential of the site. In 1906, following the company's acquisition of 260 acres (1.1 km2) of land, clearing began for the town and three years later, a sawmill, hospital and school were established.

    In 1912, the dam was erected and the pulp mill began operating. The Ocean Falls pulp and paper mill was the largest mill in British Columbia for many years. The mill produced mechanical, sulfite and sulphate pulp processed on two newsprint machines, two kraft paper machines and one tissue machine. Much of the electrical power for the mill and town was produced by four hydro turbines. Ocean Falls' population numbered 250 in 1912 and grew to 3,500 by 1950. By 1970, the number of inhabitants had dropped to 1,500. By 1990, only about 70 people, mostly loggers, remained.

    The profit structure of the original investment changed considerably during the mill's many years of operation. Low labour costs, inexpensive hydro power and low infrastructure costs made the Ocean Falls mill a viable proposition. However, remote location, rising labour costs and the high cost of operating a town site made it difficult to investment further in the facility. The Ocean Falls pulp and paper mill was a very large and complex production facility and modernization costs were prohibitive.

    By the early 1970s, the facility was inefficient and uneconomical. The owner at that time, Crown Zellerbach, decided to close the plant and effectively shut down the town by March 1973. The provincial government bought the town and mill at a minimal cost a few weeks before the planned closure and kept the mill operating until 1980. The Ocean Falls mill thus joined the ranks of other older, remote pulp and paper mills in British Columbia shut down during the latter part of the twentieth century.

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    Ocean Falls
    Wed, Jan 9th, 2013
    posted by Forgotten BC
    16 pictures

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    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Opheliaism on 1/24/2013 12:33 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jan 24 13 at 12:33, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Jan 24 13 at 5:20, Forgotten BC updated gallery Ocean Falls
  • on Jan 24 13 at 5:20, Forgotten BC made this location public
  • on Jan 21 13 at 14:05, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Jan 9 13 at 21:51, Forgotten BC made this location available
  • on Jan 9 13 at 21:50, Forgotten BC updated the main picture
  • on Jan 9 13 at 21:50, Forgotten BC updated gallery picture Ocean Falls
  • on Jan 9 13 at 21:50, Forgotten BC updated gallery picture Ocean Falls
  • on Jan 9 13 at 21:50, Forgotten BC updated gallery picture Ocean Falls hotel
  • on Jan 9 13 at 21:50, Forgotten BC updated gallery picture Ocean Falls hotel
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