Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red Deer Lumber Company and Bank Vault (Northern Manitoba)

This abandoned bank vault is located in northern Manitoba on the shore of Red Deer Lake. Beside the vault is a plaque erected in 2001 by the Manitoba Heritage Council commemorating the Red Deer Lumber Company, the caption for which is as follows:

Lumbering was an integral component of Manitoba’s industrial development from 1880 to 1930, providing materials for new communities and vital seasonal employment for agricultural settlers. Portable and permanent mills were established along major waterways to process logs cut on vast timber berths or small “settlers’ permits.” By 1930, with Manitoba’s supply of old growth forests depleted, large-scale lumbering ended and emphasis was switched to pulp and paper production.

From 1907 to 1926, the Union Lumber Company of Chicago, here at Red Deer Lake, operated one of Manitoba’s three largest commercial mills. Others were at Grandview and The Pas. This complex, with 11 outlying logging camps, a railway spur line, sawmill, planer, lath mill, blacksmith shop, stable, school, church, hall, and homes for 40 families, employed 140 workers and annually processed 20 million board feet of lumber.

When production ended, many workers remained here with their families, seeking employment in nearby smaller mills. Scattered foundations, a cemetery, and this vault are the sold reminders of the mill’s existence.

Red Deer bank vault (May 2013)
Source: Alan Mason

Interior of the bank vault (May 2013)
Source: Alan Mason

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N52.89357, W101.46318
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Arden Bank Vault (Arden, Municipality of Glenella-Lansdowne)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Old Deloraine Bank Vault (Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: The “Old Mound” and Bank Vault (Municipality of Louise)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bank of Toronto Vault (Holmfield, Municipality of Killarney-Turtle Mountain)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Red Deer Lumber Company and Bank Vault (Northern Manitoba)


We thank Gary Fraser for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Alan Mason and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 April 2021

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