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Tanks and oil tankers to Fraser River port

August 30, 2014

In 1925 a new industrial facility was located on the Fraser River at Liverpool which would bring large ships to a wharf above the New Westminster Bridge.

1935 MS Beth - Dominion Tar & Chemical dock - Fraser River - discharging crude coal tar

Shown above, the MS Beth, discharging crude coal tar at the Liverpool wharf of the Dominion Tar & Chemical Company on Fraser River.

A report in May 1925 stated:

“The Canada Creosote company will build huge tanks on the Fraser River opposite New Westminster, B.C., for the storage of creosote, which will be brought by oil tankers from the Old Country. It is said that the company will ship creosote to inland plants at Edmonton and Winnipeg by rail, and will also , in the near future, establish a creosoting plant on the Fraser.”

This industry combined traditional Fraser Valley lumbering with a chemical component: creosote was used for preserving timbers for use as railway ties, piles and bridge timbers.

New Westminster Harbor map showing Liverpool docksIn 1926 Canada Creosoting obtained approval to build a wharf into deep water on Fraser River.

The company wharf was used for shipping finished product and also for receiving raw materials, including shipments of crude coal tar from overseas.

Close by, the plant of the BC Gypsum Company in 1926 began receiving shipments of gypsum via the Canadian National Railway direct from the mine at Falkland, BC.

In 1929 Dominion Tar and Chemical Company was incorporated in Canada, with Canada Creosoting operating as a subsidiary.  The names appear to have been used interchangeably locally.

When in 1935 Dominion Tar and Chemical  obtained major orders in  China and other Asian countries,  a second plant operated across the river from Liverpool at the foot of Braid Street.

The following description of the Liverpool facility is furnished by the New Westminster Harbor Commissioners.


aerial view of Domion Tar & Chemical wharf on Fraser River at Liverpool


“Dominion Tar & Chemical Company Limited Dock at Liverpool (South side Fraser River):

Length at face 400 feet.

Two oil tanks, capacity 1,750,000 gallons, located 250 feet from dock with pipe line connection.

Depth of water, 30 feet.

Trackage, about 250 feet from face of dock, accommodation, 8 cars.

No waterside trackage.”



We have no up to date information as to the disposition of the oil tanks, which may have proved problematic in later times.  The location of the tanks was indicated on this 1938 government of Canada topographical map.

1938 topo map-  oil tanks on Fraser River

google map location of creosoting plant and tanksThe location of the tanks can be seen on a Google Map view.

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