Looking Back


If You Dream It, You Can Build It

The first settlers to our province built very basic log homes (perhaps preceded by a sod hut) and farm buildings. Once they became established, better structures were built. The house was bigger with smooth wall boards, extra windows and improvements like built-in cupboards, etc. In most cases, the farmer/owner did the construction himself with the help of family and neighbors. They didn't have to go too far to purchase all the supplies they needed. Beaver Lumber operated stores in Onoway and in Rich Valley, and Onoway had a hardware store as well.


The booklet of Building Suggestions published by Beaver Lumber was a compact compendium of low-cost designs and information about quantities of material required to meet every need. A quick flip to the back of the book showed how many pounds of nails to buy, the number of shingles necessary, the quantity of materials needed to plaster walls, the amount of common boards or shiplap required, etc.

Beaver Booklet

Beaver booklet

This 8" x 4" booklet was designed to be
kept in the pocket, handy at all times.


A few 2' x 4' spruce boards
weren't cheap in 1947.

Beaver pages

From high class hardwood floors to bee hives,
the info was there.

These designs covered every aspect of life on the farm, ranging from the house itself (washing bench, child's four-post bedstead, etc.) to the barn, an implement shed, a hog house, hayrack everything you can imagine!


For those who could afford it, Cliff Honert was a carpenter and built many homes and (still in use today barns in the Onoway area). He was happy to work for 50 an hour or less.


If you can help with the names of the owners of the Onoway lumberyard and hardware store (from establishment to today, please email or phone 780-967-5263.

Folding Ruler
                                      & Bit

Folding Ruler

The handyman might use a folding ruler
to make sure everything lined up.

Brace and Bit

A brace and bit was necessary to drill any hole required.
Look for this device on the tool wall at the Onoway Museum.

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Last updated: February 11, 2019