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The Ogilvie family lineage can be traced back to 1750 when Katherine and James Ogilvie gave birth to a son, Archibald. He moved from Scotland to Canada with his wife, six of his eight children, £2000, and two fine French millstones. In 1811, Archibald’s third son, Alexander, joined his uncle John Watson in Montreal and added his millstones to his uncle's mill. Alexander married his cousin, Helen Watson. They had eleven children. Soon the Ogilvie milling dynasty would flourish.
Alexander Walker, the seventh son, formed a partnership with his uncle, James Goudie. Goudie retired in 1855 and relinquished his share of the business to Alexander’s younger brother, John. In 1872, a mill was built at Seaforth, Ontario, and two years later another at Goderich. By 1877, the competitors complained that the Ogilvies were cornering the market because they held two million bushels of wheat in their grain elevators. John Ogilvie died in 1888. In 1895, the Ogilvie company acquired Stephen Nairn’s oatmeal mill in Winnipeg. In 1900, William Watson Ogilvie died suddenly, and two years later, Alexander Walker Ogilvie passed away as well.
In May 1902, the executors of William Watson Ogilvie sold the flour mills and seventy elevators to a Canadian-owned syndicate. Charles Rudolph Hosmer was the president of the newly formed Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. from 1902 to 1927. From 1912 to 1939, Ogilvie Flour Company were purveyors of flour to his Majesty, King George V, which indicated Ogilvie flour had been adopted by the royal household. In 1949, Gerber-Ogilvie Baby Foods Ltd. was formed and Ault Milk Products was purchased. In 1957, Ogilvie sold their fifty percent share of Gerber-Ogilvie Baby Foods Ltd. to Gerber, and in the same year Ogilvie-Five Roses Sales Ltd. was consolidated. Ogilvie bought control of Catelli stock in 1960. Between 1966 and 1996, Ogilvie Mills sold, purchased, and amalgamated with companies such as General Bakeries Ltd., Beatrice Foods Inc., Delmar Chemicals, Laura Secord Candy Shops Ltd., Catelli-Habitant Inc., Gourmet Baker Inc., among many others. In 1968, John Labbatt Ltd. bought out the 96% outstanding shares and Ogilvie became a subsidiary of Labbatt. In 1993-1994, Archer Daniels-Midland Co. of Decatur, Illinois purchased Ogilvie Mills from John Labbatt Ltd. At the time, the annual sales had reached $275 million.
In 1163, Gilbride of Airlie, of the noble stock of Angus, knelt before William the Lion, King of Scotland, and arose O'gille Buidhe, in Gaelic parlance "of the family of the yellow-haired." Thus began the lineage of the hydra-headed clan of Ogilvies, Ogelvies, Oglivys & Ogilbies. Regardless of how the name was spelled, they were a formidable clan whose deeds traverse the path of Scottish history.
In 1750, Katherine & James Ogilvie celebrated the birth of their only son, Archibald. The family were tenant farmers in Stirlingshire, and, as the sole male heir, young Archibald grew to manhood and prospered. Fifty years later, as the father of eight with five sons to consider, Archibald realized that there was little prospect left in Scotland for his children. Britain was forced to maintain a large army during the Napoleonic Wars and a young man's choice was conscription or the payment of twenty pounds to provide a replacement. Ogilvie felt that his money could be better spent in the pursuit of an improved life for his family in Canada. He gathered his wife, three daughters, and his three youngest sons and set sail for the Colonies. In his possession were two thousand pounds and two fine French millstones. After thirteen weeks, his ship dropped anchor in the St. Lawrence River beneath the Plains of Abraham. Archibald first touched Canadian shores garbed in the family tradition, knee breeches and top boots, with his wig firmly queued beneath a beaver hat, advertising to all that he was a Scottish squire and a gentleman.
The Ogilvies’ arrival in Canada was impeccably timed as supplies that England normally imported from the Continent had been cut off by the War. The timber used in building ships for the Royal Navy, once taken from the Baltic States, was now coming from Canadian forests. The St. Lawrence was teeming with timber cruisers placing produce in heavy demand.
Archibald decided on a tract of wilderness in Howick, near the Chateauguay River, some twenty-five miles south of Montreal. The first season, he and his family tried to carve out an existence from the feral land. The rigours of farming in a harsh and unpredictable climate did not agree with Archibald. For a price, it was easy to rent a farm from the old Seigneurial holdings near Montreal. The following spring, Archibald handed over the Howick tract to his son William. Taking his wife, daughters, and namesake, Archibald leased the Ermatinger farm less than two miles from the waterfront in the current district of Maissoneuve. The third son, Alexander, retraced his footsteps back to Quebec City, setting up the two millstones at Jacques Cartier on the St. Lawrence. Only the swollen population brought on by the timber boom enabled a Scotsman to compete with the seigneurial mills, often in the hands of the local church.
That same year, 1801, John Watson, a maternal uncle of the Ogilvies, arrived in Montreal and set up his own mill. Watson chose Nun's Island Channel, where the river gains speed. An outbreak of cholera in Quebec City had a deleterious effect on trade. Ships would not enter the stricken port and Montreal was forced to import flour overland from New York at a cost of $16 a barrel. In 1811, Alexander joined John Watson at Nun's Channel adding his millstones to those of his uncle. In 1817, Alexander married his cousin, Helen Watson, and two years later took over the running of the mill following John's death.
The marriage of Alexander & Helen produced eleven children and it is this branch of the family that spawned the milling dynasty. The foundation was not built purely around the male heirs as many of the Ogilvie daughters married into prominent Canadian families. One daughter, Helen Ogilvie, married Matthew Hutchison who worked for many years as a flour inspector in Montreal and subsequently ran the Ogilvie mill in Goderich, Ontario. Margaret Ogilvie married George Hastings and four of their sons played prominent roles in the Lake of the Woods Milling Co. Ltd. Alexander's own sister, Helen, married James Goudie, the son of a Montreal merchant. Alexander grew tired of the milling business and wished to spend more time at his farm at Cote St. Michel, outside the walls of Montreal. He entrusted the running of the mill to his brother-in-law, James, who in 1837 attempted the bold venture of closing the Nun's Channel operation and opening a mill at the St. Gabriel Lock of the Lachine Canal. The new mill, situated in Montreal on a bottleneck to the sea, began to tap into the growing commerce and industry of the area.
Montreal experienced unprecedented growth in the early 1840's, reaching a population of 57,500. Alexander Walker Ogilvie, the seventh child of Helen and Alexander, wrote in his boyhood diary that the land of Montreal Island was becoming too valuable to farm and that he would have to chose another livelihood. But as was often the case in Colonial times, circumstances in Great Britain altered greatly the new Canadian boom.
The Irish potato blight of 1846 caused the removal of all duties on foodstuffs, eliminating any colonial preference and destroying Canada's advantage in the British market. Concurrently, the bottom fell out of the British railway boom. Timber crews came out of the woods that spring to find their logs unsaleable. The United States made matters worse by passing the Bonding Acts, designed to divert the growing traffic from Upper Canada into American ports.
Following the ebb, the flow of commerce of the Canadian economy rebounded by 1850. The lure of the Canadian west beckoned and with it came British investment companies willing to take a chance on any get-rich-quick scheme, often to the detriment of their investors. This influx of cash and the general optimism in the Canadian hinterland soon returned Montreal to prosperity. James Goudie and his nephew, Alexander Walker Ogilvie, witnessed huge grain shipments entering Montreal from the Lake Ontario settlements. As many as 500,000 bushels of wheat passed through Montreal on the way to Great Britain. Goudie and Ogilvie believed that there was a market for flour and formed a partnership in 1852. This injection of new blood into the company was vital, for the previous year Ira Gould had leased sufficient water from the Lachine Canal to operate several runs of millstones and had built the City Flouring Mill on lands adjacent to the Goudie-Ogilvie property. Gould's challenge forced Goudie and Ogilvie to renovate their operation. The resulting Glenora Mill added a new wing to the Goudie grist mill, relegating the older structure to storage space. The new mill stood four storeys high and contained equipment for such things as polishing barley. A steam engine was installed to assist the waterwheel.
Young Alexander Walker took to the milling business with exceptional zeal. The grain being produced in the older settlements was beginning to deteriorate, so he purchased grain from as far west as Niagara to assure the quality of his flour. He was also blessed with good fortune. In 1854, the Crimean War cut off Continental grain supplies, sending British buyers to Canada for wheat surpluses and available flour. At the same time, the American mid-west was burgeoning from squatters' shacks into full-fledged cities, eager to trade with Canada. That option was made all the easier when the United States passed the Reciprocity Treaty.
In 1855, James Goudie was able to retire knowing that Alexander was more than capable of running the business. He relinquished his remaining interest in the company to Alexander's younger brother, John, who had recently returned to Cote St. Michael to help his father, Archibald, run the family farm. The sign on the Glenora Mill now bore the name A.W. Ogilvie & Co. The brothers had scant opportunity to bask in their accomplishments. Eastern Canada's wheat was rapidly declining and a Commissioner of Crown Land's report in 1856 suggested that there remained little quality land to be settled east of the Great Lakes. Annexation by the United States posed a very real threat and Canadian survey parties were dispatched to the Far West in search of suitable land for an ever growing population. Minnesota and the Dakotas were already being settled and a mill at St. Anthony's Falls (Minneapolis) was grinding 120 barrels of flour daily. Glenora flour was selling well from the St. Lawrence to Newfoundland and into the Maritime Provinces. The Ogilvie brothers felt that expansion westward was the natural progression. John Ogilvie began to push westward, exploring new settlements and laying down offers to purchase against the upcoming harvest.
The 1860's brought another decade of feast and famine to the Canadian economy. Fortunately for the Ogilvies, they brought brother William Watson on board in 1860 to help navigate the company through the eddies of a turbulent time. Initially the American Civil War brought a huge increase to Canadian business, causing Montreal factories to operate non stop to cover all the war orders. More millstones were added to Glenora to keep up with the demand as the price of flour rose steadily. The Ogilvies rented extensive storage space to house all their grain pouring in from Western Ontario. However, at War's end, the victorious Union government took steps to block all Canadian imports, forcing many companies into ruin. A.W. Ogilvie & Co. was not among the casualties. The brothers’ cautious well organized approach to the milling business not only allowed them to ride out the rough economy but galvanized their position as one of the country's leading millers.
The company's new found security enabled a more pronounced division of labour amongst the brothers. John undertook the supervision of the family's interests in Ontario with an eye toward Western expansion. William Watson oversaw the administration of the company in Montreal, freeing Alexander to pursue public duties and to concentrate on the growing financial problems that were plaguing the flour industry. Alexander was elected to the Quebec Legislature by acclamation in 1861. His two terms in office were characterized by the most cordial of relations with his French-Canadian colleagues, for he spoke perfect French, albeit with a Scottish burr.
While administering a successful business, he still found time for a staggering list of responsibilities that included: alderman for the City of Montreal, Justice of the Peace, President of the Workingmen's and Widows' Benefit Society, President of the St. Andrew's Society, the St. Andrew's Home, Caledonian Society, Royal Montreal Curling Club, Life Director of the Montreal General Hospital, Director of the Exchange Bank of Canada, Sun Life Assurance Co., and the Montreal Building Society.
A trip to Europe brought Alexander in contact with the "Hungarian Process" of milling that combined stone and roller grinding. The method produced flour of such fineness that Ogilvie introduced the steel reduction rolls to his Glenora Mills in 1871. By 1874, his myriad of outside duties caused him to resign his position leaving William Watson in charge. In 1881, he was appointed to the Upper Chamber of the Senate. In 1884, Senator Ogilvie was one of a select few that toured the Western reaches of the Canadian Pacific Railway. C.P.R. General Manager, William Van Horne, held the Ogilvie name in the highest regard. When once asked by a visiting Brit what the national flower of Canada was, he replied, "Ogilvie flour of course."
The 1870's were years of expansion for the Ogilvies. In 1872, at John's behest, a mill with a 250 barrel capacity was built at Seaforth, Ontario. Two years later, a mill with twice the capacity and an elevator were built at Goderich. The elevator served the dual purpose of storing local grain as well as the water-born shipments from Western Canada. Later that year, John Ogilvie ventured to the Dakota Territory and purchased the first parcel of hard spring wheat to be shipped to Eastern Canada. The 800 bushels proved to be of magnificent quality. The success of this experiment led the Ogilvie's to push for the growing of hard wheat in the Canadian West. For ten years John Ogilvie was a lonely visionary to the potential bread-basket available on the Canadian Prairies. In 1881, a mill was begun in Winnipeg and the first elevator in Manitoba appeared at Gretna. This was a calculated move for the arrival of the first Manitoba hard wheat in Britain had been a sensation. The early tests on the Manitoba product confirmed a grain of unsurpassable quality. The first export of wheat from Western Canada occurred in 1885 when the Ogilvie's sent a small shipment from the Winnipeg Mill to Scotland. The company received a staggering offer from British military for a half million dollar shipment. An order that far outstripped the companies ready supply but was a harbinger of the untapped economic potential in the Canadian West. By 1887, the Ogilvies held two million bushels of Manitoba wheat in their elevators prompting competitors to complain that the company was out to corner the market. The future was so bright that not even the death of John Ogilvie in 1888 could dampen the desire to push westward.
The Ogilvies had no intention of selling wheat while the possibility of milling flour existed. They planned to tackle the rival Minneapolis millers head on and entered the British market on a major scale. To that end, the Royal Mill was erected in Montreal in 1886 with an adjoining 200,000 bushel elevator. This new mill gave the firm a total production capacity of 5,500 barrels per day. To solidify their strangle-hold on the industry even further, the company purchased City Flour Mills from the heirs of Ira Gould, in 1893. That same year, in view of widespread want and hunger in Winnipeg, Ogilvie presented five thousand pounds of Hungarian flour to the city relief committee. The Company further encouraged further gift-giving by other local firms.
William Watson Ogilvie, like his brother Alexander, had many civic responsibilities. He was President of both the Montreal Board of Trade and the Montreal Coin Exchange. He was the first flour miller to be elected President of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association and sat as a director with the Bank of Montreal, the Montreal Transportation Company and the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company. He was a member of the Montreal Harbour Board as well as being a Director of the Sailors' Institute.
In 1895, Ogilvie acquired Stephen Nairn's oatmeal mill in Winnipeg. That same year William Watson hosted a group of Minneapolis millers at a banquet in Winnipeg. One of the guests, C.A. Pillsbury of the great American milling combine, toasted the host as "the largest individual flour miller in the world."
G.R. Stevens, O.B.E., offers this interesting insight into the milling business in his book, Ogilvie in Canada Pioneer Millers 1801-1951: "During these pioneer years, when the milling industry was wracked with growing pains, a bitter struggle ensued between the millers and the farmers over the relative freight rates of wheat and flour. Few were as fortunate as the Ogilvies, who had both the raw material and the manufactured article to sell. In due course wheat won, with profound effects upon the milling industry. It became profitable to carry wheat rather than flour to centres of consumption; yet because of improvements in milling practice it did not pay to build little mills all over the place. A few large mills, strategically situated, proved the answer in Canada."
As the century drew to a close, new and well-equipped mills began to spring up in many British ports. This practice permanently effected the market for imported flour as four out of every five bags of flour consumed in Great Britain were ground locally. The fifth bag was invariably used as a blend. One of the companies lucky enough to cut into that final 20% share of the market was Ogilvie. G.R. Stevens used this quotation from the British Baker's Manual of 1898 to illustrate the high regard with which Ogilvie flour was held in the article, "Popular Penny Cakes for Counter Tray and Window": "For these lines there is something about Vienna flour which absent from nearly all of the others. There is only one flour that comes near it. That is made by Ogilvie's Royal Mill in Canada."
These words would have made fitting epitaphs for the two remaining Ogilvie brothers. After nearly a century in the milling business, the family was about to undergo a radical transformation. On January 12, 1900 William Watson Ogilvie died suddenly. In a fitting tribute the Montreal Stock Exchange suspended operations for the day. Obituaries from across Canada stressed the prominent roll that "The Miller King" played in the development of the North-West Territories.
Two years later on March 31, 1902, Alexander Walker Ogilvie died. The Montreal Gazette had this to say, "... the death of few men would leave a deeper feeling of regret, or recall more sincere esteem and respect."
On May 30, 1902, the executors of William Watson Ogilvie sold the flour mills and seventy country elevators to a Canadian owned syndicate. The new president was Charles Rudolph Hosmer, a Montreal financier, born in 1851. He took his first job as a telegraph operator in 1865, moving on to manage a Grand Trunk Railway office the following year. Hosmer became the manager of the Dominion Telegraph Co.'s Kingston office in 1870, joining the Buffalo office the following and becoming superintendent of the company in 1873 at Montreal. He held this position until the company merged with Great Northwestern Telegraph Co. In 1881, he effected the organization of the Canada Mutual Telegraph Co. He remained the president and general manager of this operation until he joined the Canadian Pacific Railway as head of the telegraph department in 1886. Hosmer retained general management of C.P.R. telegraphs until his retirement in 1899. He was a director of the Bank of Montreal, C.P.R., Postal Telegraph, Sun Life Assurance of Canada and several other companies. His term as president of the newly formed Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. ran from 1902-1927.
The new company needed someone with a strong knowledge of the milling industry. Frederick William Thompson filled that role as the inaugural vice-president and managing director. He was born in 1862 and joined Ogilvie at the age of twenty. By 1889 he had been appointed manager of the company's business in the Northwest. Thompson took a prominent role in the federal election of 1911, speaking out against reciprocity with the United States and opposing wider Imperial relations. He died prematurely in 1912.
The original director with the longest seniority was Sir Montagu Allan, who sat on the board from 1902-1951. Allan was born in Montreal in 1860 and was the founder of the Allan Steamship Co. and Matilda Caroline Smith. He was President of the Merchant's Bank from 1901-1922. Allan was created a knight bachelor by King Edward VII in 1906 and decorated Companion of the Victorian Order in 1907.
The other two original directors were Sir George Alexander Drummond and Sir Edward Seaborn Clouston. Drummond was born in Edinburgh in 1829, emigrating to Canada in 1854. He was a manager of John Redpath and Son, sugar refiners of Montreal. In 1879, he founded the Canada Sugar Refining Co. In 1882, he was elected a director of the Bank of Montreal, advancing to the vice-presidency in 1887 and presidency in 1905. In 1904, he was knighted.
Clouston was the son of a Hudson's Bay Co. Chief Factor and was born at Moose Factory on Hudson's Bay in 1849. He joined the bank of Montreal as a clerk in 1865. By 1887, he had risen to assistant general manager and became a first vice-president in 1906. He was created a baronet in 1908.
Just prior to the sale of A.W. Ogilvie & Co. and the W.W. Ogilvie Milling Co., F.W. Thompson received the Duke and Duchess of York at the company's Winnipeg mill. The royal couple carried out the customary inspection and the Duchess was said to be impressed by the cleanliness of the facility. At the end of his Canadian tour the Duke succeeded to the title of Prince of Wales. On March 1, 1902, the W.W. Ogilvie Milling Co. received the Royal Warrant from the Comptroller of the Household as Flour Millers to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. When the Prince ascended the throne as King George V, the Appointment was terminated. However, in December 1912, a new Warrant was received as "Purveyors of Flour to His Majesty", an honour that the company held until December 11, 1939. The renewal of the Warrant indicates that the earlier recognition had not been a matter of protocol. It indicates that following the visit to the Winnipeg mill, Ogilvie flour had been adopted by the royal household.
The twentieth century has been one of far reaching expansion by the Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. An overview of which is chronicled in point form below.
1906 - New mill opens at Ft. William only to have elevators slip into the Kaminestiqua River on May 26, 1906.
1907 - Ogilvie Benefit Fund established.
1908 - Company announces formation of the Western Division comprised of Winnipeg Flour and Oatmeal and the rebuilt Ft. William Terminal Elevator.
1912 - Death of F.W. Thompson, Vice-President and Managing Director. He is replaced by W.A. Black.
1913 - Mill built at Medicine Hat.
1923 - Ogilvie buys Alberta Milling Co. at Edmonton.
1927 - W.A. Black ascends to the Ogilvie Presidency following the death of C.R. Hosmer.
1929 - Construction begun on Toronto office.
1930 - The Tree Line Shipping Co. and its thirteen vessels was purchased.
1935 - After 52 years with the company, W.A. Black retires and J.W. McConnell takes over as president.
1937 - The Company's publication, "The Jolly Miller", made its debut in January and recorded Ogilvie history until 1969. The inaugural issue had a quotation from President McConnell that a successful business depended upon "honesty, quality and service."
1939 - Ogilvie received order for the exclusive supply for flour and rolled oats for the pilot train, the Royal train and all other official residences of the Royal party during the forthcoming visit to Canada of their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
1940 - C.A. Dunning succeeds J.W. McConnell as President. Montreal Cereal and Feeds Mill is built. Miracle Feeds are introduced.
1941 - Capacity of the Edmonton mill was doubled.
1943 - The plant at Ft. William is equipped for the production of wheat starch and gluten.
1944 - Medicine Hat power plant was converted to electricity over from coal.
1946 - Five years in its completion, the new Royal Mill opens in Montreal with a daily capacity of 15,000 bags.
1947 - C.A. Dunning becomes Chairman as G.A. Morris replaces him as President. Ogilvie first introduces ready mixes.
1948 - January - Fire destroys Ogilvie elevator at Maple Creek, SK. May - Ogilvie donates an entire carload of Royal household flour to the British Columbia Flood Relief Committee.
1949 - Gerber-Ogilvie Baby Foods, Ltd. formed to process cereals and strained foods for infants and children. Ault Milk Products was purchased from the Ault family.
1950 - New office and warehouse built in Winnipeg.
1952 - Medicine Hat established a research laboratory. N.H. Davis replaces the retiring G.A. Morris as President. Ogilvie becomes a sponsor for the popular children's television show Howdy Doody.
1954 - Purchase of Lake of the Woods Milling Co.
1955 - Industrial Grain Products Ltd. commenced operation at its new Monosodium Gluten plant adjacent to the Royal Mill in Montreal.
1956 - Lake of the Woods Mills at Brampton and Medicine Hat were closed and the capacity of the Ogilvie plant at Medicine Hat significantly increased. A new pneumatic milling unit was installed at the Royal Mill in Montreal. The Montreal Warehouse of the Lake of the Woods Milling Co. was sold. Lake of the Woods joined the Ogilvie Benefit Fund.
1957 - The sale of Ogilvie and Lake of the Woods products was consolidated in Ogilvie-Five Roses Sales Ltd. Ogilvie's 50% in the Gerber-Ogilvie Baby Foods Ltd. was sold to the Gerber Products Co. in the United States. Ogilvie-Five Roses left the baby food business. The old Ogilvie Glenora Mill on Seigneurs St. in Montreal was sold. Vital gluten was added to Industrial Grain Products line of produce.
1958 - February - Ogilvie flour shed and Alberta Pacific grain elevator, at Turin, AB, are destroyed by fire. The old Lake of the Woods head office building on the corner of St. John and St. Sacrament Streets in Montreal was sold.
1959 - The country elevators of Ogilvie and Lake of the Woods including the terminal elevator at Ft. William were sold.
1960 - Ogilvie bought control of Catelli stock in January. That same month, N.H. Davis announced his retirement. He was succeeded by Arthur Atkins. Ogilvie-Five Roses became the new sponsor of Tommy Hunter's C.B.C. radio show. Construction began on Catelli plants at Transcona and La Prairie, Quebec.
1961 - The McGavin group of Bakeries in Western Canada, in which Ogilvie had a substantial interest, consolidated their businesses with those of Canadian Bakeries and Canada Bread Company to form McGavin Toast Master Ltd. The sales department of Western Canada underwent a reorganization. The five regional sales forces were amalgamated into two divisional groups. Vancouver became headquarters for the Alberta and British Columbia division while Winnipeg headed up the division for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Western Ontario. The sales department at Medicine Hat was moved to Edmonton. The Medicine Hat plant installed three gigantic Butler Bins increasing the mills capacity to 509,200 bushels.
1962 - Ogilvie introduced its first bulk feed truck. The company purchased the assets of Edmonton Produce Company in Edmonton and formed a new company, Edmonton Produce (1962) Ltd. to process poultry products.
1963 - A research facility was established adjacent to the Royal Mill in Montreal. A new unit was added on to the Winnipeg mill. The first Russian order, a purchase of 575,000 long tons of flour from Canadian Mills to be shipped between Oct. 1963 and July 1964 resulted in a 33% increase in Canadian flour production. Ogilvie's share of this massive order was over 30% resulting in all their mills running to capacity. The Lake of the Woods Mill in Medicine Hat was reopened for the first time in seven years to meet the demand. 1964 - Ogilvie purchased almost all of the outstanding Class "A" common shares (non- voting) of Catelli Food Products Ltd.
1965 - Ault Milk Products Ltd. opened a cheese plant at Winchester, Ontario.
1966 - Ogilvie, through Inter-City Baking Co. Ltd. purchased the outstanding shares of Consolidated Bakeries of Canada Ltd. The Romi Foods Ltd. plant in Toronto was purchased by Catelli. The Ogilvie board approved construction of a Catelli plant in Trinidad. On September 1st Arthur Atkins retired as President and was replaced by J.W. Tait.
1967 - The Company's flour mill and warehouse at Keewatin were destroyed by fire on July 3rd. Out of the insurance claim, the Pillsbury Mill at Midland, Ontario was purchased to supply the Ontario market. Several Ogilvie subsidiaries amalgamated under the name Catelli-Habitant Ltd., later the name was changed to Catelli Ltd.
1968 - Ogilvie introduces Five-Roses gravy maker & sauce maker. General Bakeries Ltd. purchased the bakery businesses formerly operated by Consolidated Bakeries of Canada Ltd. and Inter City Baking Company Ltd. On January 26, John Labatt Ltd. made an offer to the shareholders of Ogilvie to purchase common shares for a consideration per share of one Convertible Preferred Share, Series A, of a par value of $18 plus $2.10 in cash. The offer was accepted by the holders of 96% of the outstanding shares and Ogilvie became a subsidiary of John Labatt Ltd. The corporate organization of the Company was revised to provide for four operating divisions, namely Package Foods Division and Industrial Division, a Starch and Chemical Division, a Food Service Division, and a Feeds Division, together with a supporting central staff. The fiscal year-end was changed from August 31st to April 30th. Ogilvie purchased the assets and undertaking of the Food Products Division of Cham Food Ltd. of Winnipeg, the assets of Dyck's Hatcheries Ltd. Man.-Ont., Poultry Farm Eggs Ltd., the egg processing business and assets of the Borden Co. and the milk plant of the Borden Co. at Kemptville, Ontario. The company's poultry processing operation in Edmonton was discontinued and the plant was rented to Canada Packers Ltd.
1969 - John Labatt Ltd. purchased Manning's Inc., a food service company in the Western United States. Based in San Francisco, Manning's operated a food service management for clients in several states and owned a chain of 25 cafeterias and a prepared food manufacturing plant in Eugene, Oregon. The company also roasted and sold coffee to the food service industry. The starch plant in Ft. William underwent a major modernization. Ogilvie sold its 91.5% interest in Malcolm's Condensing of St. George, Ontario to Beatrice Foods Inc. of Chicago. The head office personnel of the Food Service Division were transferred to Toronto from Montreal. The Ogilvie flour mill in Edmonton was closed down and eventually demolished. Ault Milk Products Ltd. undertakes $1,000,000 expansion program. Already the largest milk production plant in the country, Ault intends to become more involved in food processing with instant powder, cheese portions, and butter patties.
1970 - The operating of the Company was realigned into two groups, namely Industrial Products Group and Consumer Food Products Group. Delmar Chemicals and D.C. Sales were purchased by Ogilvie from John Labatt Ltd. Strathroy Flour Mills Ltd. was purchased as a going concern. Ogilvie's Quebec City warehouse was sold as was Catelli's pasta plant in Transcona. Ogilvie common shares were de-listed from the Montreal and Toronto Stock Exchanges. Production capacity was substantially increased at Catelli's Montreal pasta plant.
1971 - La Boulangerie Nationale Ltee., Dyson's (Ontario) Ltd., Edmonton Produce (1962) Ltd., and Les Porcheries Canadiennes Ltee. all surrendered their charters. Dyck's Hatcheries Ltd., Cal-Ed Poultry Farm Eggs (Edmonton) Ltd. and Man-Ont. Farm Eggs Ltd. all transferred from the Agri-Products Division to the Feeds Division. A major expansion was completed at the Ault plant in Winchester, Ontario. Laura Secord puddings were introduced into the market place.
1972 - Boulangerie Joseph Martin Ltee., Boulangerie Medard Paquette Ltee., and Medicine Hat Milling Co. all surrendered their charters. All assets of the Ogilvie Benefit Fund were transferred into the fund for Ogilvie's pension plan for salaried employees. The plan then assumed the liability for pensions being paid and certain future ones. Construction began on a new starch plant at Candiac, P.Q., destined to double the Company's starch and gluten production. Ogilvie sold its warehouses in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary. Construction began on Catelli's asceptic canning plants, the first of its kind in Canada.
1973 - The company's holdings of all outstanding shares of Catelli-Habitant Inc. of Manchester, New Hampshire were sold to Manning's Inc. The operating assets of Delmar Chemicals were sold to Manning's Coffee Co. The assets of Cham Foods and Man.-Ont. Poultry Farm Eggs Ltd. were sold. Ault Foods Ltd. purchased the milk quotas of Casselman Creamery Ltd.
1974 - Catelli Ltd. acquired from the public and associated companies all the outstanding shares of Laura Secord Candy Shops Ltd. and subsequently sold substantially all its assets and undertaking to Laura Secord Candy Shops Ltd. As a result, the Catelli operation was carried on by the Catelli Division of Laura Secord. A serious explosion and subsequent fire closed the starch plant at Candiac for several months.
1975 - The name of the Ogilvie Flour Mills Co. Ltd. was changed to Ogilvie Mills Ltd. - Les Minoteries Ogilvie Ltee. Ault Foods sold all of its assets to Laura Secord Candy Shops in exchange for Laura Secord shares. The name of Laura Secord Candy Shops was changed to Ault Foods (1975) Ltd. - Les Ailments Ault (1975) Ltee. Ault Foods Division of Ault Foods (1975) purchased the milk processing and dairy products operation of Cow & Gate Ltd. in Eastern Ontario, approximately doubling the company’s fluid milk capacity. The name of Ault Foods Ltd. was changed to Ault Creamery Ltd. The breeder farm at Dyck's Hatchery was sold.
1976 - Miracle Feeds Division withdrew from the dry formula feed business in Western Canada and sold its Otterburne feed mill. The Edmonton feed mill closed down. Ault Foods sold its plant in Brockville, Ontario. The ownership of the land on Mill Street in Montreal, associated with the Company's Royal Mill, was transferred to Ogilvie by the Crown in settlement of the loss of water rights under former leases, resulting from the closing of the Lachine Canal. Property of Dyck's Hatcheries Ltd. at Niverville, Manitoba, known as Apex Farms, was sold. Canada Grain Export Co. wound up and was dissolved. Ogilvie acquitted the rights to a lease of land next to its Royal Mill property in Montreal, on which it proposed to build a new warehouse and production staging facilities. Miracle Feeds Division purchased all of the assets of Rothsay Concentrates Ltd. as a going concern. Glenora Securities Inc., a former investment subsidiary of Ogilvie, was dissolved and surrendered its charter.
1978 - Guy St. Pierre replaces J.W. Tait as president and CEO of Ogilvie.
1983 - Miracle Feeds negotiates an agreement with Kellogg's of Canada to handle all the grain by-product produced by Kellogg's manufacturing plant in London, ON. Miracle also opens offices in Perry, GE and Belleville, IL.
1985 - January- Ogilvie purchases the food ingredients division of the Henkle Corp., in Keokuk, IO establishing the company as the world's largest gluten and wheat starch producer and providing a modern production facility in the American mid-West. April - Ogilvie purchases Murphy Products Inc., effectively doubling Miracle feeds sales volume and providing the infrastructure for American expansion. December - $1,700,000 investment converted the Candiac plant to Hydro-Cyclones.
1986 - September - Guy St. Pierre is the keynote speaker at the 100th anniversary of the French National Miller Association hosted in Quebec City. December - The 685' lake freighter, S.S. Stadacona, slammed into the wharf at Ogilvie's Midland elevator causing extensive damage.
1987 - September - Ogilvie Flour produces 52,000 tons of flour, the largest month volume in the company's 186 year history.
1988 - Guy St. Pierre resigns as president and CEO, to be replaced by Terry McDonnell.
1989 - January - Ogilvie announces the purchase of 50.5% controlling interest in Tenstar Aquitane, an established wheat starch and gluten producer in Bordeaux, France. May - Ogilvie commences production on a state-of-the-art Oat Mill in Midland, ON. October - Ogilvie acquires Woodstone Foods Ltd. of Portage la Prairie, MB, a manufacturer of vegetable fibres, proteins, and starches extracted primarily from Western Canadian peas.
1990 - March - Ogilvie purchases Ross Foods of Winnipeg, MB, initiating the company into the frozen bakery products business. May - Ogilvie purchases Gourmet Baker Inc., one of Canada's leading frozen dessert and bakery manufacturers. Gourmet Baker is a national supplier of sheet cakes, torts, cheesecakes, fruit and cream pies, as well as laminated and puff-pastry products to in-store bakeries and the Canadian food service industry. May 10 - 105 year old Ogilvie Oats building in Winnipeg about to become obsolete by year end, burns to the ground.
1992 - May - Ogilvie starch team create Wallstar, a wall paper adhesive for the Collins and Aikman plant in Platsburg, NY. In May, John Labatt Ltd. reached an agreement with Archer Daniels-Midland Co. of Decatur, Illinois to sell off the Ogilvie flour milling division. Labatt had been eager to sell off the Ogilvie division after a proposed merger with Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was turned down by the federal Bureau of Competition Policy in
- Ogilvie owned plants in Montreal, Midland and Strathroy, Ontario, and Medicine Hat, Alberta. The company had 925 employees at the time of purchase.
1993-1994 - ADM purchased Ogilvie Mills, the largest miller in Canada and a world leader in production of starch, gluten, and other wheat ingredients, with annual sales of $275 million. The flour-milling business arm of the new conglomerate then signed long-term supply contracts with the Toronto-based food and retailing giant George Weston Ltd, United Oilseeds Products Inc., a canola crushing plant in Lloydminster, Alta., (which was jointly owned by United Grain Growers Ltd. of Winnipeg and Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan), and the agriculture operations of International Multifoods Corp. of Minneapolis, a business that included 11 feed mills and a chicken hatchery in Canada.
1994 - June 6th - 115 workers of ADM Milling walked off the job in a dispute over job security and seniority rights.
1995 - Strike ends September 20th.
1996 - In May, Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. has an agreement with Maple Leaf Mills from Maple Leaf Foods and ConAgra Inc.
1997 - March 1st - The Competition Bureau announced that it will file a consent with the Competition Tribunal requiring ADM Agri-Industries Ltd. to sell the Maple Leaf flour mill on Oak Street in Montreal and to maintain certain supply obligations to the eventual buyer of the mill. In meeting this stipulation the bureau will allow ADM to acquire the assets of Maple Leaf Mills, a deal that had been in the works for over a year. This deal was never ratified. October 31 - Arson claims Ogilvie plant in Winnipeg, MB.
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections acquired the Ogilvie Flour Mills fonds from ADM Milling in several accessions between 1993 and 1996.
Scope and content
The photograph collection contains over 1500 images. Where possible, individual shots have been separated with personalities identified and exact dates. Most of these photographs have appeared in the Jolly Miller between the years 1937-1969. Where dates are not readily available, an attempt has been made to be decade specific. There are eight photo albums that mainly display mill operations. They have been kept intact and given their own numbering system. ( ie: P.C. 122-A-001). All negatives that came with the collection have been stored separately.
Immediate source of acquisition
This collection is organized into 12 series. The various photo albums and the personality photographs generally follow a thematic approach.
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There are no restrictions on access.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
A finding aid can be downloaded by clicking on the “Download’ link under “Finding Aid” on the right hand side of the screen.
Generated finding aid
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Finding aid created by Lewis St. George Stubbs and Jeffrey M. Long (April 1998). Finding aid encoded by Allan Neyedly (March 2002). Revision History: July 26, 2005 - MSS 120 PC 122 MC 3 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
Revised by N. Courrier (April 2019).