History of Skead

The Town of Skead is located on the south shore of Lake Wanapitei, approximately 24 kilometers north of Sudbury. The community was founded in 1924 as a direct result of the lumber industry's presence in the area.

Before the establishment of the town, the forests surrounding Skead were exploding with large trees, perfect for logging. Lumber companies came and established operations along the shores of Lake Wanapitei, as this waterway served to transport the trees to the sawmills in Southern Ontario during the spring thaw.

Many loggers would travel back and forth from Sudbury to work in the area. To encourage the workers to set up residence in Skead, the companies built boarding houses, general stores, a post office, and a dance hall.

William Bell.  Photo courtesy of the Greater Sudbury Historical Database.In 1924, lumber tycoon, William J. Bell, bought a controlling interest in the Sable and Spanish River Lumber Company (which had its operations on the north shore of Lake Wanapitei). Bell renamed the business the Spanish River Lumber Company and proceeded to build a mill on the south shore of Massey Bay. Bell hired Gordon Cryderman to build the mill.

Soon after his arrival to the area, Bell changed the name of the Massey Bay settlement to "Skead" in honour of his wife Katherine Skead Bell. Bell's company built many bunk houses, a cook house, and various stores within the Town of Skead.

The Spanish River Lumber Company continued to operate in Skead until around 1930, when the company was forced to halt operations as a result of the Depression. The mill remained vacant for nearly thirteen years thereafter.

On September 10, 1941, after a devastating forest fire destroyed the Poupore Lumber Company mill in Gogama, the organization relocated to the abandoned Spanish River Lumber Company site. M.J. Poupore, owner of Poupore Lumber, began construction on a new sawmill in 1942 and by August 6, 1943, the sawmill was in operation.

With the development of a new sawmill in Skead, the settlement experienced a revitalization. After the closure of the Spanish River Lumber Company, Skead was on the verge of becoming another northern ghost town. However, when the Poupore Lumber Company arrived, the town saw a chance for growth and prosperity.


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