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, all that ws left was small population and a Hudson’s Bay post servicing 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, there were 30 homes to accommodate the population which by then was more than double.
Short-lived was the best way to describe Bisco’s prosperty. Fire consumed the mill in 1913, destroying almost all the community. They rebuilt the mill and town but production levels never recovered. By 1927 the mill closed.
Bisco’s infamous reputation stems from two factors. During construction of the railway, Bisco developed a reputation for being wild, raucous and dangerous. Saloons and brothels filled the community. 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. Learn more