Kitimat Project History



Kitimat was the place to be in North America in the 1950s, both for the new town plan and for the pioneer engineering of the time.

The massive Kitimat Project was completed in just five years – dam, tunnel, powerhouse, Kemano, transmission line, smelter, and Kitimat. In the post-war industrial boom worldwide, the Kitimat Project was the largest construction project for the time. Thousands came and participated in the feverish construction activity.

The BC and Canadian governments and the Aluminum Company of Canada promoted Kitimat around the world. With aluminum as the new metal, they were building the future. The Kitimat Project was the model of modern Canadian ingenuity – a feat that Canadians were able to surmount the wild Canadian landscape.

The Kitimat Project was constructed from scratch, records were set, innovation was at every turn, and the result was the largest smelter in the world and the premier community to go with it. Kitimat would be British Columbia’s first planned community – a suburban utopia so desirable to the worker that a stable work force would be maintained.

Kitimat would be designed for the worker and his family. The fulfillment of people’s needs as the focus of a town plan was considered revolutionary. Alcan wanted a social and physical master plan and sought the assistance of renowned American planner Clarence Stein, and later, at Stein’s request, town planners Mayer & Whittlesey of New York. The plant officially opened August 3, 1954 with His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, tapping the first ingot.

Memories of the Project - 300 Images