Fonds AM1033 - Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. fonds

KVOS (Bellingham) [Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. barrel manufacturing] KING-TV Film, S.C.L. Seattle [Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. barrel manufacturing] Follow Me - CBC [Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. barrel manufacturing] Drop In- CBC  [Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. barrel manufacturing] From Log To Barrel - Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. From Log To Barrel - Sweeney Mill - NG George Roy Long, QC - Sweeney Party '62 Arrow shaped sign : Sweeney Cooperage only inside this gate, 49 Smythe St. Sweeney Cooperage assembly plant office and loading dock Sweeney Cooperage assembly plant loading dock Sweeney Cooperage assembly plant loading dock Expo construction on former Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. Site Sweeney Cooperage assembly plant office Sweeney Cooperage assembly plant loading dock Sweeney Cooperage assembly plant

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Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Moving images
  • Photograph
  • Architectural drawing

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  • Source of title proper: Title of fonds based on name of creator.

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Physical description

  • 0.28 m of textual records
  • ca. 50 photographs
  • 12 architectural drawings
  • 7 film reels

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. was established in Victoria in 1889 by Michael Sweeney. The company was incorporated in 1912, and the following year, in 1913, a branch was established in Esquimalt. A Vancouver branch soon followed in 1914. (See note below on dates.) The latter was opened by Michael's son, M. Leo Sweeney, who succeeded his father and greatly expanded the business. The firm amalgamated with Vancouver Cooperage and Western Cooperage (Portland, Or.) in 1921, changing its name to Canadian Western Cooperage, however, the name reverted back to Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. in 1939, after M. Leo and his wife Mary bought out the company shares. The Montreal branch was established in 1941, with the purchase of the former John Paxton Cooperage. The Vancouver plant, which became the main branch of the company, moved to its final location in the False Creek area in 1941. The Victoria plant continued to operate until 1948. An additional plant was added in 1954 with the acquisition of Western Cooperage Inc. (Seattle, Wash.). From the late 1930s to the late 1960s, Sweeneys was the largest cooperage in the British Empire. M. Leo was assisted by his sons, including Jack G., Ed (Edward) C. and Frank (Francis) J. Sweeney, who served in various executive capacities, and as company directors. In later years, the business was scaled down as the demand for barrels declined, and the number of employees numbered around 10-15. The last remaining plant, in Vancouver, was demolished in 1981 to make room for B.C. Place Stadium. The company continued for several more years thereafter under Frank Sweeney, acting only as a distributor and agent.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of a selection of mainly business and some personal records. Business records are contained in an alphabetical subject file which was kept for reference in the manufacturing, marketing, sale, and distribution of barrels. Some administrative functions, including employee relations, are also reflected. Records from a legal dispute between Sweeney Cooperage and B.C. Place are also represented. Personal records show M. Leo Sweeney's family connections and involvement in community activities. Also included are publicity items on both the Sweeney family and the cooperage business.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Frank Sweeney, 6 Dec. 1989.


  • Several orphan files have been integrated into the original alphabetical subject files by the archivist and can be distinguished by the lack of subheading "subject files".
  • Photographs in this file have been assigned reference numbers with the prefix CVA 381 and CVA 700.

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General note

One version of the company history in this fonds gives the date 1912 for the Esquimalt plant and 1913 as the date of incorporation. The founding of the Vancouver branch is also given in this source as 1916 rather than 1914.

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