EllisDon celebrates its 70th anniversary

Construction of the SkyDome in Toronto.

EllisDon is celebrating 70 years since the employee-owned construction services company was established.

EllisDon was founded in London, Ontario by brothers Don and David Ellis Smith. Today, EllisDon celebrates and looks back, from their first project for a small home renovation, to becoming a world-leading construction, building services and technology company with more than 5,000 salaried employees. 

From the beginning, EllisDon has been an industry innovator.

In 1956, EllisDon brought the first tower cranes to Canada. In 1986, EllisDon was awarded the design-and-build contract for Toronto’s SkyDome, making history by building the world’s first retractable-rooftop stadium. 

“I encourage everyone to take a moment on April 1st, to remember the very many really terrific people who, over seven decades, accomplished great things, and gave us all an opportunity to accomplish even greater things,” said Geoff Smith, president and CEO of EllisDon. 

In its 70 years of business, the company has expanded beyond construction to deliver on any aspect of a project, leading projects all the way from the initial concept phase to long-term asset management, operations and smart buildings technology. The services continue to grow and challenge traditional views of what it means to be a company in the construction industry.

Today, the company is a $5 billion-a-year construction services provider with 15 national and international offices.

EllisDon is constantly looking for ways to make its projects more sustainable, resilient, reliable and efficient, while leveraging technology in every aspect of its business, to drive change while striving to eliminate risk. 

In 2020, EllisDon announced a final agreement was executed, which transfers 100 per cent of the company’s equity to the company’s employees.

From March 1, 2020 onward, EllisDon will gradually buy out the Smith family stake, enabling the employees’ equity ownership to increase to 100 per cent over several years.  EllisDon continues to make advances in areas like inclusive diversity, with the creation of multiple new employee groups including:

  • ABEEL (Alliance of Black Employee Experience and Leadership) which educates employees and sub-trades on anti-Black systemic racism; the Gender Equality Group, 2gether.
  • Balance Harmony Gender Equality Team Human Empowerment Redefined) to set in motion plans to achieve equitable opportunities for everyone.
  • ALLiED (ALL inclusive at EllisDon) a group of volunteers committed to spreading the word of inclusive diversity.