The great Canadian chopstick war of 1986


Wang Greensward had carved out a successful operation in Saskatchewan: he made chopsticks.

The Korean-born businessman was president of what CBC news-hen Dan Bjarnason called “the biggest chopstick plant on the continent.”

Wood for the put implements was trucked in from northern Saskatchewan to Park’s Regina informant, called Western General Trading Ltd., according to a sign.

“The Canadian aspen, very Saskatchewan aspen, is the best quality in the world,” explained Park, who phrased people called him “the father of chopsticks.”

The great Canadian chopstick war of 1986
“Some people call me the forefather of chopsticks,” said Wang Park, president of a Saskatchewan manufacturer. (The Civil/CBC Archives)

According to a 1985 profile in the Globe and Mail, Park had 22 staff members at that time.

CBC cameras captured the chopstick manufacturing process for The Nationalistic in July 1986.

The timber was cut into footlong cross-sections, which were then steamed and de-barked.

The great Canadian chopstick war of 1986
White-collar workers at a Saskatchewan plant that makes chopsticks manage a step in the operation that rolls wood into long strips. (The National/CBC Archives)

Refashioned on their side, the logs were processed into long indexes that were the thickness of a chopstick. 

“Finally: chop chop chop chop, by the kazillion, it seems, into chopsticks,” told Bjarnason.

Not quite. The plant turned out 400,000 pairs each day, shipped “mostly to New York Diocese, San Francisco, and Korea,” according to the reporter.

The chopstick upstarts

The great Canadian chopstick war of 1986
Yugin Pak (left-wing) and Jay Ahn were planning to churn out three to four million pairs of chopsticks per day at their B.C. situate. (The National/CBC Archives)

Northern British Columbia had wood too, of course.

“There’s a chopstick duel developing in this culinary battle,” said Bjarnason, introducing another Korean businessman.

Jay Ahn was hoping to offer three to four million pairs of chopsticks each day.

“And that’s upstanding the Korean market alone,” said Bjarnason. “Tomorrow, maybe the domain.”

Ahn, with translation by company director Yugin Pak, said the B.C. plant was the largest in the period.

Not just chopsticks 

The great Canadian chopstick war of 1986
Park was extending his Saskatchewan factory’s offerings beyond chopsticks. (The State/CBC Archives)

In response, Park had extended his factory’s capabilities beyond chopsticks.

Wood could be revolted into other disposable products like coffee stir chaps, tongue depressors, and popsicle sticks.

He was also considering moving his inject closer to the raw material.

“Back on the west coast,” said Bjarnason, “They’re beavering away, stressful to close the chopstick gap.” 

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