History Of The Industry
Canada's sugar industry is an integral part of
Canadian history, and a value-added success story.
The first refinery was established in 1818, half a century before
confederation. From its earliest roots, the Canadian sugar industry
has honoured its commitment to high quality and low prices - a commitment
that continues to benefit Canadians today.
A Proud Canadian Heritage
"The proprietors of this establishment inform the public
that they manufacture sugar equal to, if not superior, in quality,
and cheaper than can be imported." That was how the first sugar
refinery in Canada was advertised in a local Halifax newspaper more
than 175 years ago.
Until then, Canada had been dependent on imports of poor-quality
raw sugar or expensive refined sugar. As the population increased,
so did the demand for a steady supply of low cost refined sugar
for both consumers and the emerging industries that needed sugar
to make their food products. While attempts to sustain refining
operations in Nova Scotia proved unsuccessful, the demand for a
home industry continued to grow. In 1854, a refinery was established
in Montreal, taking advantage of the city's deep port to receive
raw cane sugar shipments from the Caribbean. A second refinery was
built in Montreal in 1879.
The arrival of the Canadian Pacific railroad on the West Coast
opened new opportunities for the industry. In 1890, a refinery was
established in Vancouver, ideally located to receive shipments of
raw cane sugar from Pacific regions and to access Canada's rapidly
developing western markets.
Around the same time, the first attempts were made to establish
a sugar beet industry in Canada. While sugar beets were successfully
grown in Ontario and Quebec for many years, the Prairie Provinces
proved to be most ideally situated, inland from cane refineries,
providing the economic stimulus for a viable beet sugar industry
in Alberta and Manitoba.
In 1912, a group of Montreal businessmen built a cane refinery
on Canada's east coast in Saint John, New Brunswick. Later, the
opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway led to the establishment of a
cane refinery in Toronto, the doorstep to a rapidly growing consumer
and industrial market
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History of Canada's Sugar Companies
LANTIC SUGAR, MONTREAL,
REFINERY ESTABLISHED IN 1888
Lantic Sugar has its roots with the Acadia Sugar Refining Co.,
a Scottish incorporation, originally formed from a consolidation
of three refinery operations in Nova Scotia. In 1912, Atlantic Sugar
Refineries built a cane sugar refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.
In 1981, the company began a program of diversification and rationalization
that concluded with the purchase of St. Lawrence Sugar in Montreal
In 2000, Lantic consolidated its refining operations in Montreal
and closed the Saint John plant. At the same time, the company reinvested
in the Montreal facility, with a $120 million expansion and upgrade
that doubled the plant’s capacity. Also see: History
of the Montreal Refinery.
ROGERS SUGAR, VANCOUVER,
ESTABLISHED IN 1890
Rogers Sugar was established in 1890 by the entrepreneurial B.
T. Rogers. Recognizing the high cost of transporting refined sugar
by rail from Montreal to Vancouver, Rogers seized the opportunity
for the west coast to refine its own sugar. Vancouver was strategically
located to access raw sugar shipments from Pacific origins and send
refined sugar to Canada's western population centres. Rogers' refinery
was Vancouver's first major industry not based on logging or fishing.
The Vancouver refinery is an efficient, productive facility to this
day, and $1 million is invested annually in this plant. Also see: History
of Rogers Sugar.
ROGERS SUGAR, TABER ALBERTA,
Rogers' involvement in the beet sugar industry dates back to the
1930's with factories at Raymond and Picture Butte in Alberta. Rogers'
Winnipeg plant operated from 1940, but was closed in 1997 as a result
of severely restricted access to the US market. Today's remaining
operation is in Taber, Alberta, built in 1950. A $40 million expansion
completed in 1999 increased this plant’s capacity by 50%.
Also see: Rogers
Sugar Taber Plant.
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REDPATH TORONTO REFINERY,
ESTABLISHED IN 1959
Redpath Sugar began as The Canada Sugar Refining Co. Ltd., in
Montreal, in 1854. The company was the brainchild of John Redpath,
an enterprising Scotsman who had seen an opportunity for Canada
to produce its own refined sugar.
In 1930, the company merged with The Dominion Sugar Company of
Chatham, Ontario with plants in Wallaceburg and Chatham, concentrating
on the production of beet sugar. Then, in 1959, the renamed Redpath Sugar opened its landmark refinery on the Toronto waterfront,
which is still in operation today. By 1980, all production of sugar
had been consolidated at the Toronto refinery. In 1997, Redpath
completed a major expansion and modernization of this operation,
investing $40 million and increasing plant capacity by 75%. Also
& Redpath Museum.
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