Each year at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month ArcelorMittal Dofasco cranes stop, massive haulers pause, meetings are silenced and the Canadian Flag is lowered to half mast. Two minutes of silence ensue as part of Remembrance Day; a pause to reflect on those who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

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Dofasco has a rich military history as both the company and its people have played integral roles in Canada’s military efforts. Employees have fought on the front lines, played support roles both at home and overseas and been on standby in the reserves. Hundreds of employees have served in the Canadian Military and the strength in these numbers precipitated the establishment of the D. F. S. (Dominion Foundries and Steel) Veterans Association after WWI. In 1946 the company built a club, Veterans Hall, just a short distance from the plant. The hall remained a gathering place for veterans for more than 45 years, until it was retired in 1992 and the mementos moved to the F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre.

The company has been enlisted too, producing munitions and marine forgings for WWI, then armour plate for WWII. Dofasco was producing 75% of all steel plate made in Canada and 30% of all tin plate as WWII marched on the scene and thrust the company and its people into war time activity. When the Canadian Government needed armour plate, a highly specialized product never before made in Canada, Dofasco took on the job and by the end of 1941 a new plant started production. From there out, every pound of armour plate made in Canada was produced by Dofasco.

The company also did its part to support the war effort with most of its advertising and communications centred around “our boys” and Canada’s role in the war. The ads were a rallying cry: “Steel and Courage Win Wars” or “We’ve got a job to do…and we’re doing it!” The messages brought a strong sense of support for the efforts of the Allied Forces and Dofasco’s place in the fight, even putting a positive spin on what the effort was doing for the company:

“War can teach for peacetime years. The urgencies of war have evolved Dofasco quality steels. Here at Dofasco, under the urgency of war, intensive research has brought new metallurgical formulae, advanced techniques and revolutionary new production methods in the making of quality gun and armour steels. Never in our history have we found so many new ways of doing things in the short time that we have become one of Canada’s primary mass-producers of exacting alloy battle-steels.

Tomorrow these same fine alloy steels will be available to help you make the products of peacetime manufacture more lasting, more efficient and better in every way. But until peace is won on the battlefronts we of Dofasco have a wartime job to do and we’re doing it with everything we have. Goodwill…is the only enduring thing.”

(Illustrated News, May, 1943)

For more on ArcelorMittal Dofasco’s history read our 100th Anniversary Book.