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Gananoque Works was the oldest forging facility in Canada having produced continually since 1865. Founded by Byers and Mathew as the Canadian Bolt and Nut Company, it was incorporated into the Steel Company of Canada (Stelco) in 1910 and the River Street buildings were erected. Prior to that, the steel working facilities were located just south of the King Street bridge on the Gananoque River.

A History of Steel Forging in Gananoque

The Gananoque steel forging factory was the oldest forging facility in Canada having produced continually since 1865 when it was founded by Byers and Mathew as the Canadian Bolt and Nut Company. These early steel working facilities were located just south of the King Street bridge on the Gananoque River.

The Steel Company of Canada (STELCO) incorporated the Gananoque manufacturing company in 1910 and the River Street buildings were erected.

By 1960, the factory was equipped with the best high speed equipment of the day to produce a variety of custom forgings for all branches of Canadian industry, particularly for the automotive and farm implement fields. Also, a range of items such as tank fittings and turnbuckles were produced.

The steel bars and billets used in the production of these forgings were supplied by STELCO’s Hamilton Works. They were of many grades of low carbon, high carbon and alloy steels, selected for particular design requirements.

Timeline of Steel Forging in Gananoque Ontario
1865 Byers Manufacturing Company
1866 Byers and Mathew Canadian Bolt Company
1884 Gananoque Spring and Axle Company
1913 Ontario Steel Products Company
1910 Plant was incorporated into the original Steel Company of Canada (STELCO)
1939 Plant made steel steel bases during WW2
1960 Plant entered automotive industry manufacturing engine parts for Ford and Chrysler
1990 Strike and collapse of automotive industry
1991 Restructured into the Stelco Fastener and Forging Division (STEFFCO)
1992 Claude Hetu and Steve Offord purchase plant from STEFFCO
1993 Renamed Gananoque Steel Forging Inc. (GSFI)
1994 New tool room at the Nalon Road press plant started
1997 Brockhaus buys majority share in plant to get into North American market with ‘crackable forgings’. Renamed to Brockhaus Inc.
1997 July 26 Employee Appreciation Day
2002 February. MAHLE takes over the Gananoque plant. Renamed to Mahle Brockhaus Inc.
2003 Renamed MAHLE Engine Components Canada Inc.
2005 Renamed MAHLE Engine Components Canada Ulc
2005 Declared bankrupt. Closes December 9th 11:30pm.
2008 Ulc. Registration not renewed. Registration fee in default.

Gananoque Steel Co.
In 1884 the Gananoque Spring and Axle Company was formed to consolidate the Gananoque Spring Company and the Byers Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of axles at Gananoque. 
In 1913 the Ontario Steel Products Company was formed to acquire the properties of the Gananoque Spring and Axle Company and the D. F. Jones Manufacturing Company of Gananoque. 

Thomson Fasteners
In 1894 the Ontario Rolling Mills Company, encouraged by the increased duty on scrap iron, put in a four-ton puddling furnace. In the same year the Gananoque Nut Factory was put in operation. The chief products of these rolling mills were merchant and other bar iron, nail plate, mine rails, ship and railway spikes, bridge bolts, car axles, fishplates and knees for ships, cut nails, horseshoes, horseshoe nails, bolts and nuts, band iron, steel forgings, rivets, and washers. This history of the finishing industries does not cover the full number as a consideration of the census figures for 1881 and 1891 will show.

Gananoque 'Steel Workers Park' concept continues to proceed

In 2008, the Town of Gananoque revealed that it was designing the new Steel Worker’s Park at the landing that The Frontenac Arch Paddling Association (FAPA) had already identified as the ideal location and the Town will be placing a paddling dock in the park. For more information, visit the Town of Gananoque official website to see the full size concept drawings for the proposed park and further news on this project.

The proposed park is located on the site of the original River Street Steel Forge on the shore of the Gananoque River. The buildings which were taken down in November of 2002 can be seen at the top of this page

The latest draft of the park concept includes the convienience of a dog park for town residents, parking, lots of green space, and areas dedicated to the memory of the generations of town residents who worked in the town's steel forging industry that spanned over 100 years. The park includes an upgraded river 'lookout' where we used to rest and eat our lunches, a spot at the north-west corner for a monument or structure that is still being decided on and interperative signage and sculptural element at the south end of the park. If you have any ideas regarding monuments or signage, or want to help with this historical project, contact the town at ssmith@townofgananoque.ca or here at info@woodlane.ca. Help the town create a park space that celebrates the rich history of Steel Workers in the community. See the town site page for more information about how to donate  a tree, bench/table (with a family plaque) or make a monetary donation.

More detail photos of the forge, former employees and products can be seen in the photos section of this site.

Latest concept drawings:



Welcome to 'The Olde Forge'!!

This page together and the Facebook 'Olde Forge' group have been created to preserve the history of the steel manufacturing industry in Gananoque and to enable former workers and retirees to share information. The 'Olde Forge' naming idea came about during the days of the Action Centre that was set up by the Government of Ontario to support the transition of former employees after the closing of the facility.

If you were involved in this Gananoque industry and would like to keep in touch with former co-workers, contribute material or help provide direction, all you have to do is join the Facebook 'Olde Forge' group.

Contributers include:
Ben Blodgett
Paul Charland
David Keyes

Over 140 years of history....

This is a Steel Forging Information Site... We are developing some pages which will contain information regarding the steel forging process. These will be added to this site to make it more informative. The process flow will include photos that were taken inside the plant.

Members can share pictures and stories of life and keep in touch with each other here and on the 'Olde Forge' Facebook group.

2006 'Meet and Greet'
'Action' Centre
The 'Olde Forge' shop
Since 1865....The original River Street Plant
The Nalon Road Plant
Engineering and Offices

'The Olde Forge' is a place for all Gananoque Works forge workers, families and friends to share news, meetings, and photos to preserve friendships and the history of the steel forming industry in Gananoque, Ontario. On December 9, 2005, MAHLE Engine Components Canada ("The Forge") closed. The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities immediately stepped in and assisted with the creation of an 'Action Center' to support the 90 former workers.

 

The 'Olde Forge' is dedicated  to all Gananoque Works forge workers and their families. 

Disclaimer: Postings are  personal opinions and submissions. Offensive or otherwise inappropriate material is banned and will be removed by an Administrator. No liability is implied, offered or assumed by any Administrator, member, or other participant. If you do not approve or find error with any item,  please forward your concern to info@woodlane.ca.