Redpath Sugar

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The Redpath Sugar Refinery in Toronto
Redpath Sugar.
Industry Food
Founded Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
(1854 (1854))
Founder John Redpath
Area served

Redpath Sugar is a Canadian sugar refining company now owned by American Sugar Refining.


Redpath Sugar was established as the Canada Sugar Refining Company in 1854 in Montreal, Quebec by Scots-Quebecer entrepreneur, John Redpath (1796-1869). Located on the bank of the Lachine Canal, the giant complex was the first of its kind in Canada, using sugar cane imported from the British West Indies. Its construction was part of the economic boom that, during the 19th century, turned Montreal from a small town to (then) the largest city in Canada and the country’s economic engine.

In 1857, John's son Peter Redpath (1821-1894) became a partner; his brother-in-law, George Alexander Drummond (1829-1910) joined the firm in 1861. Unable to compete with the giant low-cost producers in the United States, for the three years between 1876 and 1878 the company ceased operations. Following the tariff protections implemented under the National Policy by the government of Sir John A. Macdonald, the company reopened in 1879, as did St. Lawrence Sugar, a new competitor established in Montreal. George Drummond took over when Peter Redpath retired in 1888. Under his guidance, the company's success allowed for construction of a new six-storey plant built on the existing site, doubling production capacity.

In 1930, the company merged with Canada Sugar Refining Company Limited of Chatham, Ontario. In 1959, Redpath Industries Ltd. was acquired by the British company Tate & Lyle plc. The Redpath Sugar Refinery was built on the Toronto waterfront in the late 1950s, at the time of the completion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and is still in operation. David Davis, later a senior Conservative politician, was sent from Britain to restructure its Canadian subsidiary.[1] In 1980, the Montreal plant was closed and production was shifted to Toronto. In 2007, the company was taken over by American Sugar Refining


The Redpath Museum of natural history in Montreal was built in 1882 as a gift from Peter Redpath. Commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of Sir John William Dawson's appointment as Principal of McGill University, the building was designed in Victorian Gothic style by A.C. Hutchison and A. D. Steele. It is the oldest Canadian building built specifically to be a museum.[2] (Compare the Tate art gallery in London, also built with one man's sugar money.) The Redpath Library, also at McGill, was also built with this sugar philanthropy.

The Redpath Sugar Museum in Toronto, housed in one of the buildings of the refinery, displays the story of the company, the Redpath family, the evolution of refining technologies, and so on, and publishes works on these subjects.


Redpath Sugar label

This sugar package, celebrating the company's 150th anniversary in 2004, shows that the logo is essentially John Redpath's signature and face. It remains the oldest continuously used logo for food products in Canada today.


  1. ^ Trefgarne, George (August 24, 2005). "What worked on the sugar beat...". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  2. ^ "About the Museum", "McGill University". Accessed May 11, 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Davis, David (1988). How to turn round a company. Cambridge, England: Director Books, in association with the Institute of Directors. ISBN 978-1-870555-02-9. 

External links[edit]