Our History

For more than 100 years, steel fabrication has been significant to the industrial growth and development of Canada.  The historical account of TIW parallels this trend and the Company’s past and early development has close ties with Canadian industry in its many and varied fields.

Originating as one of the pioneers in the Canadian petroleum industry, as demand increased, TIW steadily broadened its capabilities to meet the specialized requirements of many other industries including natural gas, steel, mining, chemical, pulp and paper, energy and more.


1907 - Inception

1907 TIW Founder Albert Leroy Ellsworth - TIW Steel Platework HistoryOriginally known as Toronto Iron Works Ltd., TIW was founded in 1907 by Albert Leroy Ellsworth with the purpose of supplying the growing need for large steel containers and fabricated steel plate work. These materials stored the products of the petroleum and chemical industries, which were in their infancy at the time.

A year earlier, Ellsworth had founded the British American Oil Company (now Gulf Canada). Unhappy with the services provided by existing limited suppliers of tankage and pressure vessels, he founded TIW to supply his oil company’s requirements and compete among the best in this expanding field.

Founder, Albert Leroy Ellsworth…

  • Was born in Welland, Ontario, on July 2, 1876, the son of George Alfred Ellsworth and Elizabeth Foster.
  • Attended Welland public and high schools and concentrated on a business course that fitted him for a statistician’s post with the Standard Oil Company at Buffalo. Was headed for the legal profession, but the oil business held more appeal.
  • Would explain his habit of working at night as well as during the day with the philosophy: “I don’t know what others have in mind, but I’m determined to make something of myself.”
  • Was associated with several companies among them the Toronto Pipe Line Co., Texas; Fess Oil Burners of Canada, Clear Vision Pump Co., Service Station Equipment Co., and United Utilities and Service Corps.
  • Became a director of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Chartered Trust Co., Noranda Mines and Industrial Metal Industries Ltd.
  • An ardent sportsman, became a director of the Maple Leaf Gardens and a member of the Ontario Jockey and Toronto Skating Clubs. He belonged to the Lambton, Granite, York, National, Empire and Canadian Clubs and he contributed generously to a number of philanthropies.


1914 - WWI Increased Demand

The First World War proved to be a challenge for the budding company in terms of having enough space to manufacture all of its products and fulfill a deluge of orders. A plant reorganization and expansion allowed it to address emergency demands.


1929 - Move to 629 Eastern Avenue

The Move

The company moved from the original plant at Cherry and Keating Streets to a large modern plant located in Toronto on the south side of Eastern Ave, at the foot of Pape Ave.

The original plant had been built on reclaimed land, which was not suitable for expansions or additional equipment as pilings had to be driven to bedrock approximately 40 feet down, and excavations always turned up many interesting “artifacts”.

TIW Growth and Expansion

From its beginning, TIW was a steel platework shop, specializing in the preparation of knocked-down tank components, for erection by TIW’s field crews across all of Eastern Canada. In shop built work, TIW’s activities were focused on pressure vessels, including processing towers and columns, autoclaves with quick opening doors, brick lined steel ladles, shop built packaged steam boilers, steam accumulators as well as shop-built tanks and pressure “bullets” (propane and butane storage tanks).


1939 - 1945 - Steel Production for World War II

TIW concentrated its efforts on the production of equipment for industries producing munitions, chemicals and other types of war material to equip the services.

Some key individuals emerged, including Thomas Rahleigh, the early and long-standing initial General Manager. His personal Secretary was a likeable young Irish fellow, Bill Hearne, who eventually became TIW’s highly esteemed Sales Manager.


1957 - Acquisitions & Expansions

George Eric Ellsworth (son of the original founder) led TIW as private owner and President.  Benton Dixon was the General Manager. TIW made and acquisition of two industry-related companies.

Central Bridge

  • A medium-sized structural steel fabricator located in Trenton Ontario.  Then under the general management of Mr. Mac Cameron.

TIW Western

  • In partnership with Pullman Kellogg, TIW Acquired 51% interest in TIW Western, a shop of boilermakers and pipefitters fabricating platework and pipes along with hot bending. They operated a maintenance labour supply agency, supplying AFL tradesman to several refinery and chemical plants in the expanding petrochemical industrial district in East Edmonton. TIW Western operated under the general management of Mr. Palmer Lockhart.


EARLY 1960’S - Geographic & Market Expansion

TIW Historical Logo The Toronto Iron Works 1960s

Market Expansion

  • In the field, TIW was still primarily involved in tankage and other field-erected platework, supported from the Toronto plant.  By this time, the company was building open-top floating roof storage tanks.
  • Under the construction management and leadership of Mr. Gerry Carr, TIW was emerging as a major player in Canadian field-erected platework including entry into the Western Canadian tankage and field erected vessel market. The latter included the giant new Crude and Vacuum fractionating towers for IOL’s major Strathcona refinery expansion in East Edmonton.
  • ASME N-Stamp LogoIn the early 1960’s TIW also entered the nuclear equipment field, acquiring one of the first ASME “N” authorizations in Canada, and supplying prototype heavy water boiler HEx’s to Chalk River, moderator HEx’s and air locks to the Bruce (Douglas Point) GS, and moderator HEx’s to Pickering GS.


In the early 1960’s, under G/M Benton Dixon’s leadership, TIW also developed two additional subsidiaries:

TIW Historical Logo Subsidiary Company Starn-SteelStran Steel Canada

  • Turnkey design/supply/construction of pre-engineered steel buildings, under a franchise arrangement with Stran Steel US (competitors of Butler Buildings).
  • Stran utilized TIW and Central Bridge plant facilities for shop fabrication and this service was subsequently moved to its own plant in Richmond Hill.
  • The shop fabrication for Stran was originally worked on in the TIW and Central Bridge plants, but was subsequently moved to its own plant in Richmond Hill.

Driam Canada

  • A high-volume producer of medium-to-large diameter spiral-welded steel pipe, under another franchise arrangement with Driam International.
  • This subsidiary originally  got off the ground by producing medium-sized pipe with a production line located in TIW’s Eastern Avenue plant, before moving to its own plant in West Toronto (Long Branch).

Mid 1960’s - Pioneered Development

  • TIW pioneered the development of covered floating roof storage tanks in Canada and developed capabilities in a wider range of field-erected platework products, such as elevated water tanks, spheres, penstocks and dry seal gas holders.
  • Along with shop built pressure vessels, under leadership of Mr. Stu Kerby, Anthony Sheedy and Bhana Mistry, TIW added the design, fabrication and supply of shell-and-tube heat exchangers, waste heat boilers and sulphur condensers.
  • Under leadership of Mr. P.J. Tanner, TIW pioneered the design of large diameter self-supporting roofs for tanks.
  • TIW owned and operated a large stress relieving furnace for welded components.

1967 - Wimco Steel Ownership

  • Eric Ellsworth, the son of the founder and TIW’s 2nd President retired and sold TIW and its group of companies to Wimco Steel Sales Ltd., a Toronto-based company privately owned by the Wortsman family.  Wimco was primarily a sheet steel warehouser and processor. They were also in the process of developing another subsidiary, Continuous Colorcoat Ltd., (a producer of pre-painted steel sheet), in collaboration with Algoma Steel, and in competition to Baycoat, the joint venture of Stelco and Dofasco.
  • Under Wimco, TIW modernized and expanded its Eastern Ave offices, building a large new fabrication bay in its Toronto plant, and acquired an adjacent property occupied by a small shut-down CIL chemical plant.
  • Wimco named Mr. Larry Wright as president and General Manager of TIW.

1968 - Reorganization

  • TIW sold off the Stran Steel franchise, and the Driam spiral-weld pipe plant was closed down and abandoned.
  • At this time, Gerry Carr and Stew Kerby became Co-managers of TIW.  Mac Cameron remained as General Manager of Central Bridge.


1971 - Early Adopters of Technology

  • TIW acquired a main frame computer and created an IT department, supporting 32 terminals that computerized finance, payroll, production planning, scheduling and product design services.

1973 - Largest Tankage Contract in Canadian History

A Major Breakthrough for TIW

In the midst of a difficult economic season, we had a major breakthrough.

With the financial backing of the banks and some good rapport with our client on the part of Gerry Carr and Construction Products Sales Manager, Jack Warner, TIW secured a contract for the entire tank farm for the new grass-roots Gulf refinery and terminal at Point Tupper, on the Canso strait in Nova Scotia.

This was identified as the largest tankage contract in Canadian History in its time.

1974 - TIW Goes Public - Warnock Hersey International Ownership

  • With the success of recent projects and a growing pipeline of contacts, TIW was purchased by the Warnock Hersey International (WHI) Group (who subsequently changed their name to “TIW Industries Ltd.” later in 1978). They were a conglomerate of various publicly traded companies, that controlled and operated a wide range of businesses across Canada.
  • With many diverse industries served, Mr. Walter Morris presided over the metals companies as Group Vice-president. The remainder of TIW’s executives, Central Bridge’s officers, and other key employees remained more or less unchanged, with the exception of Gerry Carr, who was nearing retirement, relinquished his Co-manager status. Stew Kerby became TIW’s sole General Manager.


1976 - Acquisition of C.E MacPherson and CK Steel

Under Walter Morris’s vice presidency, the TIW Metals Group grew and acquired:

C.E. MacPherson:
A vessel head producer/specialist company in Kingston, Ontario. General Manager Mr. Bob McIntyre, was subsequently succeeded by his brother, Dave.

CK Steel & Machinery Ltd.:
A relatively small structural steel and heat exchanger designer/fabricator, located in north Calgary, was purchased 1976/77, and eventually became the present-day TIW Western.

1977 - TIW Industries Ltd.

In late December of 1977, TIW’s parent company, Warnock Hersey International Ltd. amalgamated with International Bronze Powders Ltd. and Toronto Iron Works Holdings Ltd. to form TIW Industries Ltd.

Corporations Amalgamated:

  • 148156 Warnock Hersey International Limited
  • 120367 International Bronze Powders Limited
  • 260509 Wimco Steel Sales Co. Limited
  • 260479 C.E. Macpherson (1968) Limited
  • 260495 Toronto Iron Works Holdings Limited
  • 260487 TIW Industries Ltd.





TIW Industries Historical Logo

1978 - Steam Generator Advancements

  • TIW Metals group VP Walter Morris and General Manager Stew Kerby negotiated a license agreement and technology transfer agreement with US-based Struthers-Thermoflood and their Struthers-Wells parent, for the design, supply and field servicing of high pressure wet steam oilfield steam generators, starting initially in CK Steel’s North Calgary plant. Initially, a newly-formed joint venture company named Struthers-TIW handled the sales/design/servicing functions, with the fabrication “sub- contracted” to the wholly TIW-owned CK Steel.

1979 - Reorganization

Stew Kerby moved to Calgary and took over the management of both Struthers-TIW and CK Steel.  Mac Cameron transferred from Central Bridge to replace Stew as General Manager of TIW in Toronto.


1980 - TIW Western Grows Heat Exchanger Market

TIW Western Logo HistoricalThe TIW Western group phased out of structural steel, increased its share of the heat exchanger market, began to make serious inroads into the oilfield steam generator market, and moved into a large new plant on 8 acres of land in the Foothills Industrial district in southeast Calgary. The shop was built specifically in response to clients’ predictions of market demand to manufacture mega sized OTSG units fabricated to 580 MM Btu/hr.

1982 - Celebrating 75 Years

TIW Celebrates 75 years of specializing in the supply of large steel tanks and fabricated steel platework with a reputation for quality and performance.

As demands increased, TIW steadily broadened its capabilities to meet the specialized requirements of many other industries, including petroleum, natural gas, steel, mining, chemical, pulp and paper, energy and food.


1983 - TIW is Privately owned by Canerector Inc.


Under the leadership of Cecil Hawkins, Canerector Inc. acquired the TIW metals group of companies.  After 16 years on the public market, TIW was once again a privately owned company.

The TIW metals group included three businesses that Cecil restructured as independent operating divisions of Canerector Inc.

  • C E Macphereson: They were based in Kingston, and were one of three companies in their area who made pressure vessel heads.
  • C K Steel: A Calgary based company who made oilfield steam generators, which produce steam to inject in the oil sands to liquefy underground bitumen in order to pump it to the surface.  C K Steel was renamed to TIW Western.
  • TIW: Then known as ‘Toronto Iron Works’ fabricated vessels and other heavy platework and specialized in all sizes of field erected storage tanks.


124' x 127' High, Alumina Silos for a Metals & Mining Facility

1987 - Toronto Real Estate Sold

  • To mitigate inefficiencies and overhead costs, TIW sold its Toronto real estate, and continued to utilize a small portion of the Toronto plant and offices under a lease agreement with a deadline to relocate to another facility by 1990.
  • Later on in the year a 200,000 square foot facility located in St. Catharines, Ontario was purchased by Canerector Inc.  TIW’s plate burning and rolling equipment would be transferred from the Toronto plant to this new location in a few years.  The plant would be geared towards plate preparation for field erected structures.


1990 - Relocation & Restructuring

  • All shop equipment relating to field erected tanks, vessels and structures was relocated from the previous Toronto plant to the new 200,000 square foot 23 Smith Street facility in St. Catharines, Ontario.
  • Under the guidance of Canerector President, Cecil Hawkins, this relocation facilitated a bold change in product line, abandoning small shop-fabricated vessels, and utilizing the new space for the fabrication of field erected plate preparation. The new plant layout was carefully designed to support large volumes of production and to efficiently supply processed material to simultaneous field projects sites.
  • TIW streamlined its focus to products requiring field erection.  This included tanks, silos, spheres, penstocks, stacks, and more.

See our new facilities and a full list of current products and services offered.
Fabrication Facilities  ●  All Products and Services


2000 - Large International Spheres Project

Eighteen, 63' 6


2002 - Turnkey Project in Montreal

From greenfield to completion, we delivered design, fabrication, foundation, construction, field erection, piping and coating to a pipelines customer in Quebec. The tanks consisted of two 220’ in diameter by 56’ tall, API 650 tanks with column-supported roofs.

2007 - 100 Years Anniversary & Incorporation

  • Celebrating 100 years of supplying design, fabrication, construction and distribution of tankage, process vessels, and related equipment to clients throughout Canada and Internationally.
  • On December 7,2007, TIW was incorporated as an independently operating company, changing its name slightly from TIW Steel Platework – A Division of Canadian Erectors Ltd.’ to ‘TIW Steel Platework Inc.’  Incorporation Number 002156929

TIW Steel Platework Logo White

2007 - Plant Upgrades & Expansion

  • With an increase in project volume, we made significant investments in our processing plant.  Some major upgrades included replacement CNC burn tables and plant expansion, managed by our internal expertise.


Take an interactive tour of our 200,000 sq ft processing plant


2008 - A Major Contract of Several Large Diameter Tanks

Enbridge Hardisty HCT Project

  • TIW served as the primary tank contractor on this 19-tank, $600 million project that expanded Enbridge’s Hardisty Contract Storage facility in order to meet customer demand, allowing it to hold 12.5 MMbl, which equates to five full days of Canada’s total crude oil production. Each tank stood between three and four storeys high, with 250 feet across-range in capacity (250,000 to 530,000 barrels, or bbl, apiece). Eighteen vessels were used for crude storage, while one was used for diluent. We supplied steel in rolled sections that were assembled in the field, with construction taking place on six tanks at a time.  

Read more about this project…


2010 - New Western Facility

  • Moving from its existing Edmonton office, TIW expands to a larger 23,000 sq ft facility on a four-acre lot  in Nisku, Alberta to serve the Western Canada marketplace, providing office space for sales, conferences, meetings and routine training as well as a home office where western Project and Construction personnel are based.  

Read more about our Western Nisku Office


2017 - Largest Stainless Tank in North America

TIW was awarded the contract to engineer, fabricate and erect one 150’ x 39’ Stainless Steel UAN Storage Tank.  The tank is designed to the API 650 Standard, with a column supported cone roof.  This is presently the largest stainless steel tank in North America to date.