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Trail Blazers: From the lens of company employees

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives
Photo: Trail Historical Society

By Sarah Benson-Lord

Trail Museum and Archives


For this week’s Trail Blazers, we look back to the inception of the coveted Cominco Magazine, first published in February 1940.

Initially titled “The Employees’ Magazine,” this publication continued to grace the mailboxes of employees until 1971, a print run of 31 years.

Established under the ever-watchful and paternalistic General Manager, Selwyn Blaylock, the magazine was designed to be for and by employees, covering their goings-on, their interests, and their achievements company-wide.

The magazine also served as a connection to smelter employees fighting overseas during the Second World War.

As written by Mr. Blaylock in the first edition’s Foreword: “First, I want to stress that it is your magazine. It is to record your doings and to help you get to know both those who work around you and those who may be separated from you by half a continent or more.

“Secondly, it will serve as a medium by means of which you can gain an appreciation of what the Company is doing in its various fields of endeavour. You will learn through its columns what new projects are being undertaken from time to time, what changes are being made in existing plants.

“Thirdly, those of you who are represented by the various workmen’s cooperative committees in Trail, Kimberley and other properties will be given a better opportunity to know what your committees and your committee members are doing.

“It will be the purpose of the magazine to record the activities of our large family faithfully and in as interesting a manner as possible.”

The Cominco Magazine acts as a fascinating record of smelter-life, from the lens of the employees.

On staff were editors and photographers, authors and artists.

The magazine published monthly until 1968, when seasonal issues took over. By 1971, the publication had run its course and the much cheaper, more production-centric title ORBIT, took over.

The archives uses the Cominco Magazine on a regular basis, as regional and company history, plant processes, and company culture featured prominently.

The archives, in partnership with Teck, will also tackle the digitization of the Cominco Magazine collection and will make it available for online research later this year.

The company continues its legacy of employee-driven publications with After Ours.

Did you read the Cominco Magazine as a kid or former employee?

Share your stories with us!

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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