Vicwest Building Products is a Canadian success story with nearly a century of innovation in building technology. With 500 employees working at facilities across the country, Vicwest Building Products is one of Canada’s leading producers of building materials for the exterior envelope. But it’s taken a long time to get there. In fact, Vicwest is celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2015, making it one of the oldest manufacturing companies in the country.
The company’s roots trace back to a small company, Thomas Greìgoire Inc., which manufactured steel cladding for farm buildings. That company’s namesake, Thomas Greìgoire, was a 26-year-old entrepreneur when, in 1930, he launched his business out of a small rental office in Victoriaville, Que. Initially, the company specialized in corrugated metal roofing that was fast and easy to install – and more fire-resistant than the other options on the market – for the local farming community. During the Second World War industrial production was converted to the war effort, and steel manufacturing companies were perfectly suited for the military’s needs. At facilities across the country, everything from armoured vehicles and fuel tankers to depth charges and shell casings were manufactured.
The postwar building boom to house all the returning vets and their ever-growing families was also a boon to the company.
In 1953, the company’s name was changed to Vic Metal Inc., in homage to the city it was founded in.
By the 1970s Vic Metal’s building products were being used in large-scale commercial and industrial projects from coast to coast, including Pearson Airport and Rogers Communications’ head office, both in Toronto, and adorning countless churches, car dealerships, and major retail shopping centres.
More recently, Vicwest products have furnished everything from the Richmond Olympic Oval in B.C. and the Parapan Am Games Aquatics Centre, to the new McDonald’s McCafe’s that have been popping up across the country.
In 1987, Vic Metal merged with Westeel, a Winnipeg-based company focused on storage solutions for grains, fertilizers, and liquids used by agricultural producers, to become Vicwest.
In 2004, the year before the joint company’s 100th anniversary, Vicwest became a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Between 2006 and 2010 Vicwest grew rapidly with the opening of its first insulated metal panel manufacturing facility in Hamilton, Ont., followed by a series of acquisitions which included Mercury Metals, Valley Truss and Metal, RCA Metals and, in 2010, the majority interest in All Weather Insulated Panels.
In May 2015 the company became an independent subsidiary of the Kingspan Group PLC, the Ireland-based global leader in insulated panels.
Now, 85 years after Thomas Greìgoire started manufacturing and selling corrugated metal roofing to farmers from his small Victoriaville, Que., factory, Vicwest Building Products continues to provide building solutions to the agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional markets making the company the leading brand in the Canadian building envelope market.