For those of you familiar with our company’s story, you know Tolko’s history embodies much of what is great about Canada: With hard work, integrity, and respect for the land, we can achieve big things.
As Canada turns 150, this is a time for reflection and celebration.
Our story begins with Harold Thorlakson, the fourth son of Icelandic immigrants Thorlakur and Ingibjorg Thorlakson, and an inkling that there were opportunities in planing and selling lumber. He was right.
From the first mill he started in 1956—the Lavington Planer Mill, which sat on the site of today’s Lavington Planer Division—he, his wife Gemma, and their sons Al, John and Doug grew the company that Tolko is today. Fourteen operations. Three provinces. Nearly 3,000 team members.
“I think my grandparents would have been really proud to see how, through the incredible ups and downs of this industry, we’ve managed to thrive because we’ve adapted to change, and yet kept at our core the original Tolko values,” says Tolko President and CEO Brad Thorlakson, a third-generation member of the family to lead the company.
Tolko isn’t just still here. Tolko is thriving. That’s also due in part to the family values: be respectful, fair and work hard.
“I think we can all see how those values continue to guide our company, and how they’re just as important today as they were back in the fifties when Harold was starting out,” says Brad.
So, in this milestone birthday year, we acknowledge both the men and women who have made Tolko what it is, and Canada what it is.
We also acknowledge the land we are committed to protecting, and the trees we replenish.
And we acknowledge Canada’s Indigenous people, the first caretakers of the land, and the First Nations and Métis groups we are proud to partner and work with.
Finally, we thank our employees, for being outstanding Canadians and Tolko team members. Please be safe as you celebrate with family and friends.