In 1939 a small group of citizens, looking around for some kind of a hobby, incorporated a Company and took over from Job Brothers & Company, Limited, the premises known as the W.H. House & Company premises at Bonavista, having in mind the installation in these buildings of a small cold storage plant with which to freeze blueberries, salmon, and cod fillets on a small scale, feeling that as time went on, these operations might be extended and eventually make a worthwhile industry.
The early operations were on a small scale and the outbreak of the second World War made the question of the fishery extensions a difficult problem owing to the shortage of materials and the high cost of building, owing to wartime prices.
However, progress was made, and in 1943 at the request of the Department of Natural Resources, and partly financed by them by the way of a loan... efforts were made to expand the industry to a point where it would be worthwhile to the community and a good product produced for export.
As Bonavista had no Harbour, one of the first questions to be raised was that of a Breakwater, that would not only protect the fishermen and enable them to fish longer but it would also make it possible for them to deliver their fish right at the wharf of the Cold Storage plant, and Mr. P.D.H. Dunn, the Commissioner for the Department of Natural Resources at that time, agreed to the building of a Breakwater, which has already proved to be of great value not only to the fishermen of Bonavista but to the community as a whole by means of the trade at Bonavista developing to a degree impossible before the building of the Breakwater, especially when some dredging is done to make it possible for larger vessels to berth in the shelter of the Breakwater with safety.
The Bonavista Cold Storage Company, Limited, has already invested close to $200,000.00 in its plant at Bonavista, which is most modern in every respect and from which during the current season over three million pounds of fast frozen cold fillets have already been exported, the quality of which cannot be excelled anywhere.
During the current year over $60,000.00 have been paid out at Bonavista in wages and labour, and approximately $300,000.00 to the fishermen for fish, all in cash as earned.
The Company employs 150 men, women, and boys and plans on increasing its activities during the next year or two by branching into other lines, and it is expected that from 200 to 250 people will then find employment.
The Directors of the Company are : - Mr. H.A. Russell, President; Mr. C.A. Pippy; Mr. B. French; Rev. J.T. Hiscock; Mr. F.B. Pike; Mr. F.G. Bradley; and Mr. W.F. Hutchinson.
The cold storage equipment is efficient and up-to-date. Power is supplied by three Caterpillar diesel engines of 83 h.p., 51 h.p., and 38 h.p. each. They drive one Frick 11 ½ x 8' booster and two York compressors, one 9 x 9, the other 7 ½ x 7 ½. They operate 4 blast freezers, rating 45,000 lbs., for the 24 hour run and 2 sharp freezers, rating 20,000 lbs. for the 24 hour run.
The plant this year began operations on May 15th and closed down December 20th. In addition to over three million lbs. of fillets, it froze one hundred thousand lbs of squid and two hundred and fifty thousand lbs of herring.