How Kamloops’ Once Booming Cigar Industry Went Up in Smoke

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By: Jenna Wheeler

Posted on: September 2, 2019

 

KAMLOOPS – Kamloops was once home to a company that created, sold, and exported nearly 4,000 Havana cigars per day.

Word of a cigar factory in Kamloops had been brought up in 1894 by a Vancouver man, James Harling. While looking into the possibility of this venture, Harling rented a building on what is now known as Victoria Street West but never got the business rolling, according to an article from the Kamloops News.

In December of that year, a man named George E. Borthwick, who was employed at a cigar factory in Victoria, decided to try his hand at creating a cigar industry in Kamloops. According to notes from the Kamloops Museum, he rented half of the building from Harling and the Inland Cigar Factory came to be.

At the start, three journeymen apprentices, including Borthwick, rolled cigars with tobacco from Havana, Sumatra, and the United States, according to a Kamloops News article.

The factory began to produce various types of cigars such the Pride of Kamloops, which was strictly Havana tobacco,  as well as some mixed-tobacco varieties such as Nature’s Beauties, La Flor de Cabinet, and Stags, according to notes from the Kamloops Museum.

In 1897 the company was reorganized and made plans for expansion. Borthwick was now partnering with a Vancouver man known as M.P. Gordon, according to the Kamloops News. The company constructed a new building on the corner of First Avenue and Seymour street, which still stands today. The name of the company was changed to the Inland Cigar Manufacturing Company Ltd.

 

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