masthead image

Biscotasing

Introduction

Town site photo

Part of a building

©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko

Biscotasing, better known as Bisco, began as a railway camp during construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the early 1880s. After the railway moved out. Bisco was then left with a small population, and a Hudson's Bay post, mainly to service the railway workers.

In 1894 Bisco sprang to life as a lumbering community, with the opening of a new lumber mill. By the early 1900s, Bisco boasted a general store and post office, company store, school, hospital and two churches, Catholic and Anglican. In 1907, the government added a forestry station. By 1911, 30 new homes had been added and the population more than doubled.

Unfortunately Bisco's prosperity was short-lived. In 1912 the mill was consumed by a fire that destroyed almost all of the community. The mill and town were rebuilt, but production levels never recovered. By 1927 the mill had closed.

Bisco's infamous reputation stems from two factors. When the railway was built, Bisco was filled with saloons and brothels and developed a reputation for being wild, raucous and dangerous. In later years it was briefly home to an Englishman named Archie Belaney, who went on to achieve fame as a writer under the persona of Grey Owl.

Today Bisco is a partial ghost town that springs to life every summer during the tourist season. The community includes a few houses, both old and new, as well as the general store and post office.