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Ocean Falls Artifacts


Len Whalen Collection


Len Whalen, artist / cartoonist, was employed by CZ – Ocean Falls from 1954 – 1959. Len’s primary job was developing safety programs and producing humorous safety posters. Len also provided the cover art for The Rain People.

Leonard George Whalen
1912 – 1989
Leonard George Whalen was born in Vancouver, B.C in 1912, the son and nephew of four brothers who together owned and operated the mills of Whalen Pulp & Paper Company in Port Alice, Woodfibre and Swanson Bay. Life in the logging camps of B.C. during the prosperity of the pre-Depression Pacific Northwest, as well as periods working as a logger, truck swamper or deck hand on the company’s tugboats, would provide both a livelihood and artistic inspiration for Whalen.
The result of this unique milieu and upbringing was the Rangatang collection: 26 canvases depicting the daily life of the West Coast logger in the early 1920s and 30s. Produced by Whalen over a 15 year span from 1972 to 1989, the paintings portray an existence and industry that has long since disappeared, supplanted by technology, automation and global corporations.

The subjects of the paintings are the men Whalen worked beside and the bunkhouse existence he shared with them. It was a life characterized by the hardships and dangers of a grueling industry, punctuated by brief visits to town – usually Vancouver – for a much needed diversion. The collection captures the courage and resilience required of those who worked in these camps, along with the work ethic and good humour that the hardships demanded. Each painting illuminates a unique time and place, and sheds light on both the painter and those painted.

In addition to the canvases, Whalen’s work includes a collection of cartoons that provide another perspective on the inhabitants of the logging communities. The cartoons appeared in the Vancouver Sun in the series titled “B.C. Rangatangs”, as well as Macleans and other magazines, and have been collected in two editions. They, too, are succinct and well-observed portraits of “bunkhouse life”.

From 1973 to the time of his passing in 1989, Whalen lived in White Rock, B.C., many miles from the camps he grew up in and close to the ocean that had been Whalen’s first source of inspiration. The paintings, charcoal studies and watercolours inspired by the beauty of the west coast have been exhibited in small art galleries throughout B.C.

The Rangatang collection is evidence of Whalen’s respect for his fellow workers – the common man upon whom many early 20th century industries were built. It is a respect that would be apparent in his reluctance, years later, to exhibit in any gallery where the pricing would put a painting beyond the reach of the very people whose stories and lives were the current running through the work. The paintings are a reflection of Whalen’s respect for the men he shared so much with and for the life they lived. So, too, are they a reflection of the hardships he faced, and his own dignity, strength and good humor.

The Cook House


Midnight Calling


The Dryer




Ocean Falls Museum Is Looking For

Family Photos And Movies

To display Here on this site.

Each Contribution Will Be Displayed On A Page Named For That Family.


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This Site Built And Maintained By:

Bradley SaintJohn

1st Grandson of Millie and John Fair Owners of C&F Radio Ocean Falls BC