At many times in its long history, the mill at Thorold, Ont., has implemented cutting edge technology and ideas, morphing to meet the needs of its market and the demands of its fibre supply, but for 100 years, it has remained a newsprint mill. Almost 200 people gathered Sept. 5 to celebrate that fact, and to mark the occasion with the unveiling of an outdoor plaque that will explain to tourists the historical significance of this enterprise.
The mill is currently owned by Resolute Forest Products, and produces newsprint from 100% recycled newsprint. It is the only one in Canada to do so, and one of only a few in North America.
Resolute also hosted an event to mark the mill’s centennial.
The Thorold paper mill began life as a subsidiary of the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Through its various incarnations and ownership changes, it was first and most widely known as Ontario Paper. It currently produces 202,000 tonnes of newsprint annually on one paper machine and has 130 employees.
Mill manager Gordon Cole says one of the challenges the mill now faces is the declining quality and quantity of old newsprint available as a feedstock. High energy costs as well are a concern to him. Balancing those negative factors are the mill’s advantageous location (easily accessible to a large “fibre basket” of old newsprint), proximity to end-users, and its diversified and experienced workforce, says Cole.