Both the annual Christmas party and July 1st Canada Day celebrations continue to bring ArcelorMittal Dofasco families together at the F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre. Here's a bit of how these storied traditions evolved:
The first Dofasco family Christmas Party was held in December 1937, in the sorting room of the then new Tin Mill.It was the investment in the Tin Mill months earlier that had provided the company with its first extended stretch of financial stability after years of boom and bust.
Despite lingering effects of the Depression, no expense was spared. The kids were greeted with a fairyland of their favourite Disney and nursery rhyme figures. The occasion also provided an opportunity for Dofasco women to show off their musical and dancing skills.So great was the turnout that Santa(Ray Phoenix, father of future Dofasco president Paul Phoenix) ran out of gifts and had to issue rain checks to those who were disappointed.
It was the beginning of a Christmas tradition that grew into the largest in the Commonwealth, attracting tens of thousands of Dofasco employees, their families and retirees.
Over the years the party was held in various parts of the plant, at Victor K. Copps Coliseum and at the F.H.Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre,celebrating its 75th Anniversary during the company’s 100th year of business.
Family picnics were also a long established tradition. Two months after the company announced its landmark profit sharing plan, the first Dofasco picnic was held. It was an extravaganza that saw special trains carry thousands to Soper Park in Guelph.
A happy Clifton Sherman and his family members mingled with employees,resplendent in blazer, tie, straw hat, cane and two tone shoes. Some picnickers found their way to a nearby tavern resulting in enough revelry that Guelph’s mayor suggested the picnic be held elsewhere the next year.
The following year the company outdid itself ferrying thousands, this time by two chartered steamships, to Port Dalhousie. The use of ships and trains was eventually discontinued as the numbers to be carried became too great, but at the same time many more employees by now had their own cars. The summer picnic eventually became the company’s annual Canada Day celebration at the F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre.
Guests of both the Christmas Party and Canada Day events often enjoy entertainment from two storied Dofasco musical acts, the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Male Chorus and ArcelorMittal Dofasco Pipe Band