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Our History

Quality People and Quality Products

Stelco was born out of an era of tremendous change, and Canada’s steel company forged its reputation on adapting to customer needs. Asserting an innovative, forward-thinking vision has been central to Stelco’s resilience through the years, as generations of Stelco employees have left their mark on their company, communities, and their country.

From its very beginnings, Stelco has consistently invested in its people and worked to ensure its facilities were equipped with leading edge technologies capable of delivering the next generation of products custom-engineered to the needs of customers.  

A cluster of upstart steel companies had grown on the strength of Hamilton’s strategic geographic position and skilled local workforce, but by 1910 drastic developments in the American steel industry were threatening the future of steelmaking in Canada...

A Forward-Thinking Partnership

The Steel Company of Canada - Stelco’s original title - was given life in 1910 via the merger of Montreal Rolling Mills, the Hamilton Steel and Iron Company, and a handful of secondary companies located from Gananoque to Brantford. It was the result of a bold partnership that forecast emerging challenges and charted a path toward nation-building opportunity.

To accomplish the deal, legendary Canadian banker, industrialist and eventual senator William McMaster joined forces with Max Aitken, a brash 30-year-old New Brunswick financier. The merger allowed Stelco to make long-term plans to invest heavily in steelmaking technology, and also poured the mold for the company’s enduring philosophy of reinvesting profits into ongoing skills and safety training, new technology and best practices.

It was a vision shared and ultimately carried forward by Stelco’s employees, who became renowned throughout North America for raising industry standards and exceeding customer expectations. Over the course of its iconic history, Stelco’s determined and innovative workforce has remained the company’s most valuable resource.  

Early Growth

Through its early years, Stelco encountered steady growth by delivering continuous improvements to the quality, cost and range of products it delivered to customers.

By setting itself apart in its primary production and by working to integrate its products into the North American automotive, construction, appliance, pipe and tube industries, Stelco established a quality-driven formula that served as a foundation of enduring customer trust.

Stelco’s careful approach to growth helped it deftly manoeuver through the collapse of the western land boom and the generalized economic downturn experienced in its first few years of operation.



Product Diversification and New Safety Benchmarks

Rising to the challenge presented by the First World War, Stelco managed to quickly adapt and scale up production of shell steel while expanding its portfolio of products and investing in mining operations.

Careful management allowed Stelco to emerge from the sharp depression of 1921 and 1922 in a better market position than its competitors. 

Stelco’s diversified range of products and emphasis on updating equipment and technology helped it endure the Great Depression of the 1930s.   



World War II

The outbreak of World War II transformed Canada’s economy and launched Stelco in new directions as it re-engineered its production facilities to rise to the challenge of wartime demands.

Stelco’s men and women played an important role in supplying steel for land transport vehicles as well as thousands of navy ships and cargo vessels.

While new facilities were added to accommodate increased production during this period, Stelco maintained pre-war prices and took only limited profits during these years. 



Fueling Post-War Growth

Canada’s post-war economic boom also brought challenges of crisis proportions to the steel industry as steel shortages threatened Canadian steelmakers.

However, Stelco adapted to new market realities and grew more resilient by adapting its production to capitalize on growth in the automobile, appliance and agriculture sectors.

Stelco became Canada’s largest producer of cold drawn steel during the 60s, and the purchase of Edmonton’s Premier Steel Mills in 1962 served to reinforce Stelco’s position as a truly national steelmaker. 



Groundbreaking Innovation

Stelco set itself farther apart from its competitors by opening a Research and Development facility in Burlington in 1967.

Throughout the 1970’s, Stelco employees engineered a number of industry firsts and proprietary production breakthroughs that included the development of coilbox technology, the Stelform method of pipe production and the Stelmax line of high strength, low alloy grade steel.  

As Stelco’s workforce doubled to 25,000 in the 1970s, its innovation advantage was amplified by the construction of the Lake Erie Works, renowned worldwide as the largest undertaking in Canadian steelmaking history and a model of innovation and environmental progress.

New Standards for Quality and the Environment

Quality control best practices and training were systematically expanded across Stelco’s operations in the 1980s as the company’s workforce faced a recession and shifting market patterns with resilience and a focus on the future. Working with leadership, they deployed considerable efforts to adapt to new environmental regulations implemented to reduce air pollution.

In the 1990’s, Stelco faced new competition from Asia, and re-engineered its facilities in order to win contracts from Japanese-owned auto assembly plants in southern Ontario. Through more challenges brought on by the recession of the early 1990’s, Stelco continued to reinvest in its facilities and focus on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Over a five-year period, Stelco invested $900 million in new technology and facility updates as the new millennium dawned.

In 2007, Stelco was acquired by U.S. Steel and renamed U.S. Steel Canada. During these years the company’s employees led even greater advances in personal safety as well as steelmaking processes that have well served its communities and our nation.

The Renewed Stelco

Today, Stelco has returned as a vertically integrated, independent Canadian steelmaker.

Stelco steel is made by Canadians, in facilities built and managed by Canadians.

We are home to quality people building quality products, and our commitment to exceeding customer expectations is simply unmatched.