The Demise of ANYOX

Rob BryceGhost Towns of Northwest BC, UNBC Experiential Tourism Program Comments

Large stockplile of unsold copper

Like most of of early resource based communities they were victims of the “Boom or Bust” economies.  Anyox was no different, it had over 2500 people living and working there by 1915 but by 1935 it was on its way to being a Ghost Town.  The Anyox smelter owned by Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting and Power Co produced  blister copper (~99% purity) and smelted 321 546 tonnes between 1914 and 1935.

“Excerpt from Great Mining Camps of Canada 2. article”

Outside Observatory Inlet, the world was being strangled by the Great Depression. The bottom fell out of the copper price and Anyox, being a single economy town, was bereft of a buffer. Forces beyond Granby governed the future of the town. The company kept the operation going but finally succumbed to the influences of the depressed global economy. By early 1935, close to 50 million kilograms of unsold copper, the equivalent of three year’s worth of production, sat in a huge, coffin shaped stack near the harbour. Mining operations ceased on July 31, 1935. One thousand people were laid off and 2500 people became virtually homeless overnight in one of the most desperate periods of modern history.

1938 Granby dismantled and shipped out most of the machinery from the mine, mill, machine shop, powerhouses, and town, including kilometres of rails and the steam and electric locomotives that for years had trundled back and forth to feed the mines. A skeleton crew of about 15 men and a few family members stayed behind, while everyone else departed with what furniture and keepsakes they could carry. For the children who knew only the security and safety of Anyox, it must have been terrifying – even more so for their parents as they set forth into a future that would remain bleak, harsh and desperate until the economy began to recover with the onset of World War II.

Stacks of Blister copper

Stacks of Blister copper at Anyox docks

Loading copper on the docks

Loading copper on the docks

Rows of copper waiting to be shipped out of Anyox

Rows of copper waiting to be shipped out of Anyox – 600 tons

Large stockplile of unsold copper

Large stockplile of unsold copper