Windsor Salt Mine
The Windsor Salt Mine currently operates two locations in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The first is the Ojibway Mine at 200 Morton Drive in Windsor, established in 1955, and is owned by The Canadian Salt Company, Limited. The facility has 250 employees, earns roughly $75–99 million a year, producing road and mining salt. The second location is the Windsor Facility of the Canadian Salt Company, located at 30 Prospect Ave. in Windsor. This facility employs 110 and estimates their sales at $25–50 million a year. It was established much earlier than the first, in 1893. Their main products are salt used for human consumption, water softening and agriculture. In 2008, Canadian Salt mined approximately 9,500 kilotonnes from the Windsor mine, 85% of which went to deicing highways, and the remainder for manufacturing caustic soda and chlorine, producing pulp and paper, and water treatment.
In the early days of Canada's European settlement, trappers brought shiploads of salt with them for personal uses such as curing hides and salting meat, as well as trading with the First Nations peoples. In 1860, the salt industry in the area was begun in Michigan, by the Saginaw Salt and Lumber Company. They began producing salt in limited amounts, as their main industry was lumber. In roughly 1890, William Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway("CPR"), realized the potential of the region. The company sunk a test well on CPR's land in Windsor and found salt in 1891. The test well was supervised by E.G Henderson, the civil engineer who supervised the CPR's London to Windsor Line. He would become the plant manager of the Windsor Salt mine, which was built and operational in 1893. One reason for the CPR's interest in the Windsor Salt Mine is attributed to a desire to enable the company to haul freight in order to compete with other railroad companies such as the Grand Trunk Railway. From the beginning, Windsor's mine has been unique in Canada, using a vacuum pan technique that is utilized in the U.S., but not in Canada. Perhaps this is a tangible symbol of the close connection between the two nations in the border area.
The Windsor Salt Mine had a difficult start, with a financial crisis in 1897. By 1910, the Canadian Salt Company, as it was known as since 1901, prospered sufficiently to purchase the Saginaw Lumber and Salt Company. Shortly before 1928, The Canadian Salt Company moved its operation to Sandwich and shut down its older plant. In 1928, the mine was purchased by Canadian Industry Limited. In 1941, Neepawa Salt Company in Manitoba merged with Canadian Industry Limited. Canadian Industry withdrew from salt manufacturing in 1951, and Windsor, Neepawa, and a mine in Alberta were incorporated by H.R. Milner under the name Canadian Salt Company. In 1952, the Morton Salt Company of Chicago purchased a large interest in the company and a subsidiary, the Canadian Rock Salt Company, was established. In 1954, Canadian Industry Limited left Windsor, leaving Morton and the Canadian Rock Salt Company in Windsor.
In 1954 a sinkhole appeared above the Prospect St. mine, leading to thousands of dollars worth of damage. This also led to the public fearing for its safety. The Windsor Mine engineers assured the public that the area was safe, and spent weeks cleaning up the mess. Fifty thousand yards of fill were needed.
- 200 Morton Drive, Windsor, ON
- 30 Prospect Avenue, Windsor, ON
- Scott’s Directories, 2007 Manufacturer 50th Anniversary Edition (2007, Toronto, Division Big Directories) pg 2-876
- Windsor Daily Star, (April 24, 1954, Windsor) Pg and Author Unknown
- Garden Gateway to Canada, Morrison (Essex County Historical Association, 1954) pg160
- Windsor Daily Star, Jack Kent (February 22, 1954, Windsor)
- Windsor Daily Star (February 22, 1954, Windsor)
- Scott's Directories 2007 Ontario Manufacturer's 50th Anniversary Edition ( Division big Directories, Toronto Ontario) 2007
- Garden Gateway to Canada, Morrison, F. Neil (Essex County Historical Association, Essex county, Canada) 1954