13 Jul No. 7 Steam Train & McLean Mill
Although there’s nothing wrong with leaving your watch and cell phone in your room and letting time drift by, most of our guests are looking for something to do while they’re here. In fact, one of the reasons our owners chose Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort in Parksville is the incredible variety of things to do and see in the area called “Oceanside”, truly one of the most beautiful areas in Canada. This was my first visit to McLean Mill and I was amazed that it’s still operating, along with the steam train that takes you there from the station in Port Alberni.
Although ownership at Sunrise Ridge allows you to exchange through one of the large timeshare exchange companies, many of our owners come back to their own residence here year after year. Some enjoy the warm weather in July and August and some like the quieter time in the Spring and Fall. They use what they enjoy and most put their unused time in the rental program run by our on-site resort management, True Key Hotels and Resorts.
The mill was operated by R.B. McLean and his three sons from 1926 to 1965. It is a showcase of pioneering get-it-done attitude and inventiveness. The mill is typical of the remote coastal lumber camp and sawmill complex from the middle of the last century and has been named a National Historic Site (1989) to commemorate the history of logging and saw milling in British Columbia. The site is a very complete collection of industrial and personal memories of the people that lived and worked there.
Since 1995 and continuing to the present, the site has been restored with funds from Heritage Canada, Forest Renewal BC, the BC Heritage Trust, BC Community Futures, the Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot and the City of Port Alberni. MacMillan Bloedel donated the land. The sawmill has been rebuilt to operate as it did in 1965, including a replica of a 1928 log carriage. The camp buildings are in the process of been restored and furnished as they were at particular times in their history.
This is the only commercial steam operated mill in Canada, specializing in custom beams and wood for fine furniture making. Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Hemlock and Maple beams can be milled up to 43 feet long. Half the lumber they mill is sold and half is used on site for re-construction and repairs.
If you’ve never visited this area before, why not arrange some time in one of our fully furnished vacation residences and come see it for yourself? There are currently 1, 2, and 3 bedroom residences available in Eighth, Quarter and Half shares. Eighth shares cost less than most people paid for their last vehicle and give the owners six weeks of time in their residence every year.