Stelco fonds

Stelco fonds

Part of


  • Stelco Inc. (archive creator)


Stelco fonds

Dates of creation



  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • Approximately 2,885 drawings (including reprographic copies)

Scope and Content

The Stelco fonds, 1902-1982, documents the buildings and facilities at Stelco's Montréal sites. The records of the fonds include architectural and technical drawings, including reprographic copies, of elevations, sections, plans, studies and insurance plans, illustrating the layout of the Notre-Dame and Saint-Henri’s sites near the Lachine Canal (including notes on types of buildings and employees’ lists). In addition, the records show the different parts of the building complex such as store and warehouses, departments, divisions and offices, and mills. There are some drawings signed by architects such as Frank Peden, Keith S. Rea and Saxe & Archibald. Study plans of the Hodgson Pipe Co.’s buildings, also known as Hodgson Iron and Tube Co., acquired in 1902 by the Montréal Rolling Mills Co. are also included in the fonds.

Reference Number



This fonds is not yet arranged.

Administrative history

The Steel Company of Canada Limited, more recently called Stelco, was a Hamilton and Montréal based steel manufacturing company. It was founded in 1910 as a result of the merger of companies Hamilton Steel and Iron Company, Canada Screw Co., the Bolt and Nut Co., Montréal Rolling Mills, and the Dominion Wire Manufacturing Company. The 950,000 square-foot site, bordered by Charlevoix, Sainte-Cunégonde, Notre-Dame and Georges-Varnier Streets, had a complex of approximately 20 industrial buildings. There was also a second site in Saint-Henri, that consisted of a building that was previously occupied by the Montréal Rolling Mills company. From 1910 to 1980, the Montréal Rolling Mills remained active as a department within the Stelco company. These Ontario and Québec companies sought to reach nation-wide coverage through this partnership and compete against their American counterparts. Charles S. Wilcox, former president of the Hamilton Steel and Iron Company, was appointed the first president of the company [1].

During war times, the company supplied military material such as shells and steel panels for ships, vehicles and aircraft, among other materials. The company also began hiring women at this time, to replace the hundreds of male workers sent to the front [2]. 1946 was marked by a historic event, known as the Battle of Stelco, when thousands of their employees, unionized under the United Steelworkers of America Local 1005 (USWA), went on strike demanding for better labor conditions and recognition of the union. The company responded with replacements to continue its operations and the strikers set up picket lines to avoid the movement of the steel in-and-out of the company. The strike lasted for 81 days and after losing two months of production, they reached a settlement between Charlie Millard, president of USWA, and Hugh Hilton, president of Stelco, in which they recognized the union, established a seniority and grievance systems and wage increase [3].

With the growth of urban centres in the 1950s, the development of means of transportation, energy infrastructure, along with the prominent modernist style in architecture for residential and commercial buildings, there was a strong demand for steel. By 1960 the company had sales offices across Canada (Halifax, Saint John, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, London, Windsor, Sudbury, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver) and merged with Page-Hersey Tubes Ltd., Premier Steel Mills Ltd., and Canadian Drawn Steel Co. Ltd [4].

The steel technology, sometimes, shaped the architectural design of their times. The company looked for the architects’ approval for them to use Stelco’s materials in their projects, by offering designed steel and promoting their products in architectural journals. For example, in the 1960s the company developed a product they called ‘Stelcolour’ that consisted of steel with permanently bonded finished color, they also developed porcelain-on-steel materials for decoration and functional purposes. In the 1970s, the company developed steel with natural color (‘Stelcoloy’), i.e. steel with bold exposure of unpainted surface under a process known as ‘weathering’, which had a decorative effect of oxidation useful for design.

With the economic depression of 1980, Stelco announced the closure of its Montréal plants by 1985. By the end of the decade Stelco was listed among the “dirty dozen” polluters in Ontario by the Toronto Star (march 11, 1989), citing the negative environmental impact caused by the pumping of liquid pollutants into the Hamilton Harbour. In 2007, Stelco was acquired by U.S. Steel and renamed U.S. Steel Canada. And, finally, a decade later the company was purchased again and renamed Stelco Holdings Inc. After the closure of Stelco’s Montréal sites, the City of Montréal, owner of the site, mandated Sodémont (Société de développement de Montréal) to redevelop the site and by 1988 most of the buildings were transformed into residential apartments [5]. Some buildings were preserved, among which are the buildings along the Lachine Canal and Charlevoix Street, while other buildings were demolished.

[1] Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stelco

[2] Paquet, L. 2018. Soldiers at the Front, Workers in Factories. https://thediscoverblog.com/2018/11/21/soldiers-at-the-front-workers-in-factories/

[3] RAIC Journal 40 (4), April 1963, p. 54

[4] Sawyer, D. 2006. Stelco Inc. The Canadian Encyclopedia. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/stelco-inc

[5] Société historique de Saint-Henri. 2017. La Stelco, fer de lance de l’industrie de l’acier. https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/memoiresdesmontrealais/la-stelco-fer-de-lance-de-lindustrie-de-lacier

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • For copyright information or permission to reproduce material from the fonds, please contact the CCA (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Gift of the Société de développement de Montréal (Sodémont) in1986.

Custodial history

The fonds was held by the Société de développement de Montréal (Sodémont) after the closure of the Montréal sites by Stelco , as a mandate of the City of Montréal until its donation to the CCA in 1986.

Archivist's note

  • In February 2021 Alejandro de la Fuente created a fonds level description using the legacy inventory of the Stelco fonds.

Credit line

When citing the collection, use the citation: Stelco fonds, Collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.

Related units of description

  • The Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) holds The Steel Company of Canada (Stelco) fonds with the ID 4801595. This fonds is comprised of textual records such as reports, articles, letters, personnel records, financial and accounting records; drawings and graphic materials; and photographic materials from the company’s history.

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