A Local Manufacturing Company

In last week’s posting of items from the Community Waterfront Heritage’s Centre’s collection, nothing was shown that represented Industry, one of the three areas of focus of the Centre. 

This photograph is part of the archival collection. These two women are shown with a machine that made a product in an Owen Sound factory. This product could be found in stores outside of Canada. What were they making and what was the company name? Did you or did anyone in your family work at this industry? 

This black and white photo depicts two women at the toothpick machine, Keenan’s, Owen Sound. The women are identified as Darlene Brown and Jo Forbes.  Mrs. Forbes was awarded a gold pin for 50 years service. 

This shows one of the toothpick boxes that is in the collection. 

Keenan Woodenware Co. Ltd. / Keenan Bros. Ltd. / Keenan Industries Ltd. were names the Company was known by. It was an important industry in Owen Sound for one hundred years (1896-1996) and was located on the east side of the harbour. 

The August 1, 1929 issue of The Financial Post featured Owen Sound industries. “Keenan Industries Varied Products Wide Distribution” provided information about the company.  Keenan Industries was the sole manufacturer of toothpicks in Canada.

The parent company was Keenan Brothers Ltd., all privately held in the family circle. … Everything manufactured is produced cheaper through the close alliance of tugs, barges, sawmills and factories and one set of owners who are content with one profit from the allied industries. [1]

The company’s large ad on the front page of the second section “From Stump to Finished Article” highlighted the diversification of the company.

Grey Roots Archives provides some history of Keenan Woodenware Co. Ltd. / Keenan Bros. Ltd. / Keenan Industries Ltd.  and shows some related items in their collection.