Manitoba Historical Society
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MHS Centennial Business: Burrows Lumber Inc.

Theodore A. Burrows began his lumber, logging and sawmills operations in Manitoba in 1879 when he purchased a sawmill on Lake Winnipeg in partnership with Arthur Walkley. He rafted lumber down the Red River to Selkirk and had interests in Swan River and Dauphin. In 1911 the charter to Theo. A. Burrows Lumber Company was issued "to carry on in all the branches of pulpwood lumber and timber." He and his family moved to Winnipeg in 1912, and by 1913 he was a major entrepreneur, figuring prominently in The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield. He owned the largest sawmill in the province at Grandview, where in the first year he produced seven million feet of timber. His head office was located at Grandview and he operated another mill at Birch River. He also owned and operated a chain of twelve lumberyards, mostly in Saskatchewan, that sold to the retail and wholesale trade and dealt in builders' supplies. Before his death the number of lumberyards was to expand to thirty. Besides these enterprises he owned many hundred square miles of standing timber in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and operated a mill west of Edmonton.

After his death in 1929, the T. A. Burrows Lumber Yards were purchased by the Monarch Lumber Company of Winnipeg. However, for a time his widow and his son, Arthur, with his nephew Theodore Arthur Sparks, managed the T. A. Burrows Lumber Company until Arthur died tragically in a car accident. T. A. Sparks carried on until he retired in 1954 and sold the Theodore A. Burrows Lumber Company to John T. LePage. The deal had been negotiated by L. Frank Findlay of the LePage Lumber Company, who carried on as Manager of the new merger. One of many challenges came in 1959 when the company won the rights to cut the lumber around Grand Rapids in preparation for the construction of a hydro dam. In 1976 the business was sold to James W. Clarke, who had audited the company's books as a Chartered Accountant. It operates now under the name Burrows Lumber Inc., in the wholesale hardwood and softwood lumber distribution.

An MHS Centennial Business Award was presented by Kenneth A. Zealand, 2000.

Sources:

Based on notes by Nan Shipley held in the Archives of Manitoba.

Page revised: 15 May 2011

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