Keeping Ontario Moving: The History of Roads and Road Building in Ontario

Keeping Ontario Moving: The History of Roads and Road Building in Ontario

by Robert Bradford


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A comprehensive history of roads and road-building in Ontario.

In this beautifully illustrated book, virtually every facet of the road building industry in Ontario is discussed, from labour relations to safety, politics, and financing. Follow the history of road-building technology from the first crude trails hacked through dense forests by homesteaders to the corduroy roads, planks roads, stone roads, macadam pavements, hot mix asphalt pavements, and concrete roads. See how the engineering and construction of bridges has progressed from the first jack pine logs placed across a stream to the complex structures that span international waters and thousands of rivers today. Follow the development of construction equipment from the first steam shovels and cable-operated machines of the late 1800s to diesel-powered machines in the 1940s and later hydraulics. Meet the companies that made the equipment and the people who sold and rented it.

From the 1930s forward the early story of roads is told largely by the people who lived and made the history. Over 120 contractors, engineers, government officials, and others were interviewed and the last eighty years of the industry’s history unfolds in the way they remember it. Share their memories and stories, some hilarious and some tragic, as they talk about their projects, their businesses, their successes, and their hardships.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459723634
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Publication date: 06/02/2015
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 10.10(w) x 12.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Robert Bradford is an award-winning business journalist and fiction writer who spent thirty-five years working with the Ontario construction and road building industries and retired as executive director of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association in 2012.

Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Chapter One
 Roads and Transportation in Upper Canada Before 1800
 Early Roads and Transportation
Road Building in the 1700s
The First Road Crews: Labour and Statute Labour
John Graves Simcoe and the Military Roads
The First Road Builders
Asa Danforth
Post Roads
Chapter Two
 Steamships to Steam Engines: H²O Highways and the Rail Roads 
 Colonel By and the Rideau Canal
The Trent-Severn Waterway
The Welland Canal
The Steamships
Road Builders and the Segwun
The New Iron Highways
 Chapter Three 
 Roads and Road Building in Nineteenth Century Ontario    
 Building Roads in the 1800s
Road Building Becomes a Science
Canada Invents Plank Roads
Plenty of Pavement Choices
John Talbot and the Talbot Road
The Huron Road
The Toronto-Sydenham Road
The Colonization Roads
The Addington Road and Madawaska Bridge
The Toll Gate
 Chapter Four
 Building Bridges                                 
 Reinforced Concrete Competes With Steel
Some Came Tumbling Down
 Chapter Five
 Highways for the Motor Car (1900–29)
 The Good Roads Movement
A New Department for Highways 
Ontario Road Builders Unite
Profit and Protectionism
Daily Commercial News
Ontario’s First Concrete Highway
Asphalt Pavements Come of Age
The Ferguson Highway               
 Chapter Six 
 Companies and Contractors (1887–1919)  
 1882: Walker Brothers Industries
1897: Bermingham Construction
1890s: Hacquoil Construction Limited
1900: A. Cope & Sons Ltd. (Cope Construction Ltd., 1978)        
1902: Warren Bituminous Paving Company Limited (Warren Paving & Materials Ltd., 1979)
1903: John Gaffney Construction Co. Limited
1904: L.J. Looby, Contractor (Looby Construction Ltd.)
1907: Stacey Electric Company Limited
1912: Dufferin Construction Company) (originally Franceschini Construction
1917: A.E. Jupp Construction Company
1917: W.D. LaFlamme Limited (Bot Construction and David S. LaFlamme Construction)
1918: McGinnis & O’Connor Limited (The Cruickshank Group)
1910s: Law Construction Co. Limited
1910s: Standard Industries Limited
 Chapter Seven
 Companies and Contractors (1920–29)   
 1920: Curran & Briggs Limited
1921: Black & McDonald
1926: The Murray Group
1927: Campbell Construction Co. (George Campbell Company Ltd., 1946)
1927: E&E Seegmiller Limited
1928: W.W. King Engineering and Contracting (King Paving & Materials)
1929: Armstrong Brothers Company (Armbro, 1972 – Aecon, 1987)
1929: Canada Paving and Supply Corporation, Ltd.
1929 : Greenwood Construction Co. Ltd. 
1920s: McNamara Corporation
Chapter Eight 
Steam to Diesel to Hydraulics
A Game Changer
R.G. LeTourneau
Golden Age Equipment
Bigger Crawler Tractors
Made in Ontario
The Iron Dealers
Collecting the Rent
Going Once, Going Twice, Sold
Chapter Nine
The Great Depression and World War II (1930–49)         
Muskeg, Mountains, and Mosquitos: Building the Alaska Highway
The Queen Elizabeth Way and the Rainbow Bridge
The Thousand Islands Bridge(s)
Chapter Ten
 Companies and Contractors (1930–44)            
 1930s: Dibblee Construction Limited                                                       
1930s: Lamothe, a division of Sintra Inc.
1933: Smiths Construction
1937: H.J. McFarland Construction Co. Limited
1938: Dagmar Construction Inc.
1938: Lavis Contracting Co. Limited 
1938: Pioneer Construction Inc.
1939: Leo Alarie & Sons Limited (Aecon Group)
1942: C.A. Pitts Engineering Limited
1942: Labelle Brothers (M.J. Labelle Co. Ltd, 1955)
Chapter Eleven
Companies and Contractors (1945–49)         
1946: Cox Construction Limited
1946: K.J. Beamish Construction Co. Limited
1946: Miller Paving Limited (also McAsphalt Industries Ltd., 1969)
1946: Owen King Limited
1947: McLean Construction (McLean Taylor Construction Ltd.) 
1948: Huron Construction Co. Limited (The Miller Group)
1949: Cornwall Gravel Company Limited
1949: Fowler Construction Company Limited
1949: S. McNally & Sons (McNally Construction Inc. and C&M McNally Engineering Corp., 1979)
1940s: Harnden & King Limited
1940s: Hurdman Paving
1940s: Peter Kiewit Sons Co.                                         
Other Contractors from the Forties and Fifties
Chapter Twelve
The Golden Age of Roads (1950–74)                   
Profit and Loss: A Case Study
The St. Lawrence Seaway
The Trans-Canada Highway and the Gap
Northern Highways Surveyors
The 400 Highways 
The Ottawa Queensway and Highway 417 to Montreal
QEW and the Skyways
Chapter Thirteen
Caught in the Act: Scandal and Reform        
The Highways Scandal
Dredging for Dollars
The Ottawa Asphalt Affair
Territories and Market Dynamics
Prequalification: Road Builders Lobby for Change
Chapter Fourteen
Companies and Contractors (1950–55)     
1951: D. Crupi and Sons Limited
1952: Gazzola Paving Limited
1952: R.W. Tomlinson Limited
1953: Evans Contracting Company
1953: Steed and Evans Limited
1954: Guild Electric Limited
1955: Pedersen Construction Inc. (originally Helmer Pederson Construction Ltd.)
1955: George Wimpey Limited (Carillion Canada Inc.)
1955: Villeneuve Construction Co. Limited
1950s: Allan G. Cook Limited
1950s: Thomas Cavanagh Construction Limited
1950s: Ontario Paving Co. Limited (Osler Paving)
Chapter Fifteen
Companies and Contractors (1956–60)    
1956: Cayuga Materials & Construction Limited
1956: Cruickshank Construction Limited
1956: Hard Rock Paving Co. Limited
1956: Lafarge North America Inc.
1956: TCG Materials Limited (Dufferin Construction/Holcim [Canada] Inc.)
1957: G. Tackaberry & Sons Construction Co. Limited
1957: Bot Construction Limited
1959: Facca Incorporated
1959: Graham Bros. Construction Limited
1959: Oxford Sand and Gravel
1960s: Bélanger Construction Inc.
1960: Harold Sutherland Construction Limited
Chapter Sixteen
Labour Relations and the Construction Unions   
The Sault Locks, 1966
Labourers International Union
Operating Engineers Local 793
CLAC and the Merit Contractors
Chapter Seventeen
Companies and Contractors (1961–70)
1962: Furfari Paving Co. Limited
1964: Coco Paving Inc. (originally L&G Coco Construction)
1964: James Dick Construction Limited
1964: Fermar Paving Limited
1966: Associated Paving & Materials Limited
1967: D.L. Stephens Contracting Limited (Capital Paving Inc., 1982)
1967: Pave-Al Limited
1968: Anchor Shoring & Caissons Limited
1968: Weldon McEachen Construction Limited (MiWel Construction Limited — Aecon)
Chapter Eighteen
Small Steps Forward, Bigger Steps Back: The Decades of Neglect (1975–94)
Oil Prices Soar and Hot Mix Producers Unite
The Veterans Memorial Highway
Safer Workers, Safer Jobsites
The Environment: Road Builders Clean Up Their Act
Chapter Nineteen
Companies and Contractors (1971–95)
1971: Deep Foundations Contractors Inc.
1972: MSO Construction (originally Municipal Spraying and Oiling)
1972: Bruno’s Contracting (Thunder Bay) Limited
1972: Louis W. Bray Construction Limited
1973: Karson Kartage & Konstruction (Aecon Group)
1974: Alnor Earthmoving Limited
1976: J&P Leveque Bros. Haulage Limited
1979: Roto-Mill Inc. (originally Roto-Mill Services Ltd.)
1981: B.R. Fulton Construction Limited
1987: Aecon Infrastructure (originally Armbro Enterprises Ltd.)
1987: Bridgecon Construction Limited                         
1988: Duncor Enterprises Inc.
1989: MTM-2 Contracting Inc. (a.k.a. Hugomark Construction Inc.)          
1993: Teranorth Construction & Engineering Limited
1995: Taranis Contracting Group
Chapter Twenty
Change and Transformation: A New Era for Road Builders  
The Re-Engineering Revolution
Outsourcing Highway Maintenance
Area Term Contracts
What’s Happening to the Family Business?
Reinventing the HMA Pavement
Concrete Steps Up the Competition
The Ontario Road Building Hall of Fame
Chapter Twenty-One               
The Northern Contractors                     

Chapter Twenty-Two
Rebuilding Ontario’s Infrastructure              
Highway 407: The Private Toll Highway    
Four Lanes North: Highways 69 and 11
Expanding the QEW
Roads and Runways for Air Travel
The New Blue Water Bridge
Replacing Bridges Overnight
Big Becky and the Niagara River Cofferdam
The Rt. Hon Herb Gray Parkway
Tables and Charts
Table 5-A: Number of Motor Vehicles Registered in Ontario 1900–29
Table 10-A  Road Building Contractors on the Alaska Highway
Table 13-A  Department of Highways Average Unit Tender Prices 1950–64
Table 13-B  1959 Equipment Rental Rates — Selected Items
Table 13-C  H.J. McFarland Construction Profit/Loss Comparison 1957–62
Table 18-A: Bridge Building Periods (Age Profiles)
Table 20-A: Ontario Ministry of Transportation Capital Spending 1990–2013

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