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The 3M Canada Story

The year is 1951. One of the first subsidiaries of 3M is established in Canada, with administrative offices located in London, Ontario. On the first day, 3M Canada’s first order arrives.  One day later, sales offices open nationwide.

In 1952, a new 145,000-square-foot manufacturing and packaging plant opens in London, Ontario. By 1953, the plant hums with workers filling orders for tapes and adhesives and now abrasives. The list of imported products expands, stimulating diversification into new markets.

After three years in London, with net sales having doubled and the number of 3M staff increased by 70 per cent, two new areas are built in 1957. A 52,000-square-foot, two-storey administration building is built to house up to 250 people. Manufacturing space is increased by 69,000 square feet.

By 1957, growth and increasing market diversification overtake the administrative structure that served 3M well in simpler times; reorganization sets a pattern familiar with 3Mers today. 3M forms divisions headed by a manager responsible for the marketing, production, sales, quality and profits of a specific group of products. Each division operates like an individual company, unified by a central management committee.

In 1960, 3M becomes Canada’s only producer of artificially coloured, ceramic-coated roofing granules opening a plant in Havelock, Ontario. 3M invented the process some years earlier and operated similar plants in the United States (US).

3M Canada enters the export market in 1961 and throughout the decade office, warehouse, lab and manufacturing space expansion takes place.

In 1972, 3M Canada begins producing large volumes of specific products for the Canadian and US markets. It’s the beginning of a large increase in the export business and it more than doubles the number of employees in that area of the business.

In the 1970s, 3M Canada opens branch offices in Toronto, Ontario and Ottawa, Ontario and the head office and lab in London, Ontario expands. 3M Canada announces two 3M Centres – one in Montreal and one in Calgary - will be constructed and in the next decade, another plant will be built in Perth, Ontario.

In 1972, cardboard recycling begins at the 3M London plant and an energy conservation program is launched the next year. The London Chamber of Commerce presents 3M Canada with the Industrial Environmental Award and Ontario Hydro lauds 3M’s commitment to the environment honouring the company with their Energy Award.
Another pollution reduction effort, 3M Pollution Prevention Pays (3P), begins in 1975. It leads to over 590 million tonnes of pollution reduced from manufacturing operations over the next few decades.

3M Canada receives its first French trademark with registration of “Feuillets Notocollant” in the early eighties.

Construction is completed in September 1980 of the plant in Perth, Ontario. Over the next decade, expansion continues in Perth.

A new lab facility consolidates all 3M Canada research and development functions.
Morden, Manitoba is brought into the 3M family in 1982 when the company announces a 34,000-square-foot plant will be constructed on 40 acres in the community.

Encouraging excellence in education, 3M Canada introduces National Teaching Fellowships in 1986. The awards recognize exceptional Canadian university professors.

3M is a major sponsor of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and the following year, 3M Canada establishes the Coaching Canada Awards aimed at honouring outstanding coaching efforts across the country. 3M Canada also announces sponsorship of the National Coaching Certification Program.

In 1990, Tartan Place, a five story glass and granite office building, opens in London.  Also, the London abrasive factory expands by 36,000 square feet.

In 1991, the physical size of the plant in Morden, Manitoba is doubled.
Then, 3M Canada purchases a 132,500 square foot building on 11 acres in Brockville, Ontario where it establishes a new pressure-sensitive tape plant.

3M Canada establishes the 3M Clinic, a partnership between 3M Canada, The University of Western Ontario (UWO) and London Health Sciences Centre. Located on the UWO campus, the state-of-the-art clinic provides orthopedic care for London and surrounding communities.

3M Canada makes another extraordinary gift in September of 1999 to two new facilities in London, Ontario. The $1.5 million is to be shared between the 3M Women’s Wellness Centre of London Health Sciences Centre and the 3M Osteoporosis Centre at the Monsignor Roney Centre of the St. Joseph’s Health Sciences Centre.

Coaching remains a focus for the company and a joint venture is announced between 3M Canada and the Coaching Association in March 1990. Annual coaching awards are also established with the RCMP and the Coaching Association of Canada. Later, a partnership is announced between 3M Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation to develop an Ontario Community 3M Coach of the Year.

The company continues its philanthropic activity. A quarter of a million dollars is donated to the Parkwood Hospital Foundation in London. The donation allows members of the chronic wound and skin care team to increase and share research.

In 2001, 3M Canada celebrated 50 years of service.  The next year, 3M Canada’s Havelock, Ontario plant closes.

3M began expanding its footprint in the oil and gas industry in 2006 with the expansion of the Scotchkote™ plant in Morden, Manitoba and appointed an Alberta regional director. 

The next year, 3M announced plans to build an administration and sales office in Calgary to respond to oil and gas industry needs and formed an alliance with a power system solutions manufacturer, Edmonton-based Cantega Technologies Inc.  3M also began expanding its presence in Quebec later that year appointing a director to oversee the development of the region.

In 2008, 3M solidified its commitment to the oil and gas industry partnering with the Alberta Research Council to test the erosion and corrosion of the linings in pipes by creating a flow loop.  3M also acquired Quebec-based Les Entreprises Solumed Inc. expanding its infection prevention product line.

Major Milestones: 3M Canada

1951 Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing of Canada Limited becomes one of the first subsidiaries in 3M’s new International Division
1952 3M Canada begins operations in a 145,000-square-foot tape, abrasives and adhesives plant in London, Ontario
1953 3M acquires Irvington Varnish & Insulator Company and its Canadian components are consolidated in London, Ontario
1957 3M Canada builds a 52,000-square-foot administration building and adds 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space in London, Ontario
1960 3M acquires open-pit mining operations and artificially-coloured roofing granule plant in Havelock, Ontario
1963 The London, Ontario manufacturing and warehouse space increases by 130,000 square feet
1965 Work begins on a 72,000-square-foot plant, laboratory and administration expansion in London, Ontario
1969 3M Canada acquires Allied Colour Film Service Limited for operation as 3M Photo Limited
1969 3M Canada completes $1 million two-storey administration building in London, Ontario
1970 3M Canada begins sales operations in Toronto, Ontario
1972 Company changes name from Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing of Canada Limited to 3M Canada Limited
1973 3M Canada begins operations in Ottawa, Ontario
1974 London Chamber of Commerce presents 3M Canada with the Industrial Environmental Award
1974 Ontario Hydro presents 3M Canada with an Energy Award
1976 3M Canada celebrates 25th anniversary with dedication of Anniversary Park in London, Ontario
1978 Company changes name from 3M Canada Limited to 3M Canada Inc.
1979 3M Canada begins operations in Montreal, Quebec
1979 3M Canada completes $4 million expansion of London, Ontario head office and laboratory
1980 3M Canada begins operations in Calgary, Alberta
1981 3M Canada completes $4 million Scotch-Brite™ plant in Perth, Ontario
1982 3M Canada builds $1.5 million Scotchkote™ plant in Morden, Manitoba
1982 3M Canada completes 100,000-square-foot tape plant in Perth, Ontario
1983 3M Canada receives its first French trademark, “Feuillets Notocollant”
1985 3M Canada begins $8 million expansion of tape plant in Perth, Ontario
1986 3M Canada awards the first 3M National Teaching Fellowships
1986 3M Canada becomes an official sponsor of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics
1990 3M Canada’s corporate headquarters, Tartan Place, opens in London, Ontario
1991 3M Canada announces $11.5 million expansion of Scotchkote™ plant in Morden, Manitoba
1991 M Canada completes $3.5 million expansion of Scotch-Brite™ plant in Perth, Ontario
1994 3M Canada begins operations at $30 million Brockville, Ontario tape plant
1995 3M announces the spin-off of its data storage and imaging businesses and forms a new global company, Imation
1996 Company name changes from 3M Canada Inc. to 3M Canada Company
1996 3M Canada receives federal Employment Equity Vision Award
1996 The 3M Centre, a partnership between 3M Canada, The University of Western Ontario (UWO) and the London Health Sciences Centre, opens on the grounds of UWO in London, Ontario
1997 3M Canada expands plant capacity with a new product line in Brockville, Ontario
1997 Perth, Ontario site receives Ontario government 4P Award for preventing pollution at the source
1997 3M Science in Your World Gallery opens at the London Regional Children's Museum
1997 3M Canada becomes the title sponsor of the 3M National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)
1998 3M acquires Racal Filter Technologies’ health and safety division giving 3M Canada another manufacturing plant and R&D facility in Brockville, Ontario
1998 3M Canada signs partnership with the RCMP and the Coaching Association of Canada
1999 3M Women’s Wellness Centre opens as part of the London Health Sciences Centre
1999 3M Osteoporosis Centre at the Monsignor Roney Centre of the St. Joseph's Health Sciences Centre opens
2000 London, Ontario plant expands product line making Scotch™ Duct Tape for the North American market
2001 3M Canada celebrates its 50th anniversary with activities and celebrations at branches nationwide
2001 3M sponsors the Red Green movie, Duct Tape Forever
2002 3M Canada’s Havelock, Ontario plant closes
2002 3M acquires Advanced Information Technologies Corporation (AiT), an Ottawa-based identity security business
2004 3M Canada forms alliance with Thermon Manufacturing Company to market Thermon’s commercial line of heat tracing products
2006 3M Canada forms alliance with Cicame Energie Inc. to be the sole and exclusive distributor of Cicame’s overhead and underground electrical distribution product line
2006 3M invests $4 million to expand and upgrade production capabilities at its Morden, Manitoba Scotchkote™ facility
2006 3M Canada announces an internal volunteer awards program to annually recognize 3M employees for their outstanding volunteer efforts
2006 3M Canada forms alliance with Proline Solutions, manufacturer of cleaning and contamination products for hospital sterile processing departments
2007 3M Canada announces 10,000-square-foot Calgary administration and sales office to be built with an oil and gas focus
2007 3M Canada's Display & Graphics Business announces it is the official supplier in the large format graphics (building and vehicle wrap graphics) category for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
2007 3M Canada forms alliance with Edmonton-based Cantega Technologies Inc., a power system solution manufacturer
2007 3M Canada forms alliance with Prudential Consulting Inc. providing comprehensive software solutions to the Canadian health care market
2007 3M Canada forms alliance with CavCom Manufacturing  to be the exclusive supplier of the CavCom Hearing Protection and Communication System in Canada
2008 3M Canada partners with the Alberta Research Council to develop liners that prevent corrosion and erosion of pipelines, and prolong pipeline life
2008 3M announces partnership with Virtual Voices Village, an organization that helps disabled secondary school students develop writing and journalism skills
2008 3M acquires Quebec-based Les Entreprises Solumed Inc., a developer and marketer of infection prevention medical products for operating rooms and hospitals

For more information on 3M Corporation background, click here.


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