North American Lumber

Photo from the Manitoba Archives

A Manitoba Success Story

The North American Lumber Co. was established in 1906, before the town of Rivers was named, but after it was common knowledge that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway would be passing through. As such, the operation, which would expand into a national building supply company, was ready and willing to supply materials for the town that grew almost overnight as the rails approached.

Edward A. Konantz, owner of Citizen’s Lumber Company of Bow Bells, North Dakota, joined forces with Charles Lee, appointed as General Manager, and started North American Lumber and Supply Company (Limited).

The conditions for the establishment of a lumber company were excellent, with a strong economic climate and the building of the Grand Trunk Railway across the Prairies offering the means by which outlets could be supplied.

The partners opened their first lumberyard in Rivers, Manitoba, in 1907. By the fall of 1908, the partners had established 16 more yards, with a total of 19 yards in place by the spring of 1909.

This view of Rivers in 1908 shows the North American Lumber Co., near the left, on Second Street.

North American Lumber suffered through the Great Depression along with the rest of Canada, with the rural yards hit the hardest, but by 1936, 56 yards had survived the worst part of the depression.

Through the ‘40s and ‘50s, North American Lumber continued to grow and diversify, meeting the ever changing needs of post-war society, and purchasing several yards in Saskatchewan and rural Manitoba. In 1948, North American Lumber opened the Carberry yard. In 1954 the company purchased the Minnedosa yard from the Valley Lumber company and the Brandon yard from Wade Lumber. The pre-fabrication plant that began in the 1940s in Winnipeg prospered, as the demand for housing in Canada increased. North American Lumber made a great contribution through the extensive development of the “Ezy-Built” business- garages, cottages, homes and farm buildings. The company also diversified into the construction industry with the founding of a new division – Ready-Mix Concrete. nal-history-photo3

In 1966, North American Lumber and Supply Company (Limited) and Citizen’s Lumber Company (Limited) amalgamated to form North American Lumber Limited.

The mobile and modular home industry expanded throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s to meet an increasing need for housing in rural areas. North American Homes Sales continued to serve this market with sales offices in Lockport, Brandon, Reston and Warren.

Today the company employs over 200 people in a variety of related sales and service companies including North American Lumber, North American Homes Sales, Ready-Mix Concrete, and Pre-fab Truss factory. We celebrated our 100th anniversary and maintain our commitment to growth and diversification.

*Adapted from The North American Lumber Co. Website

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