MONTREAL, Jan. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - Imperial Tobacco Canada today announced
the start of its 100th anniversary year.
"It is thanks to the thousands of employees who have called Imperial
Tobacco Canada home that we are able to celebrate this milestone today. They
are the foundation of the company, and each generation has served to reinforce
this foundation," said Benjamin Kemball, president and CEO of Imperial Tobacco
Canada. "We would not be the industry leader without the passion that people
have put into their work. We would not have been able to meet the challenges
without the innovative spirit of our people."
Throughout the first century of its existence, the company has been
faithful to its St. Henri roots. It built its first factory there, played host
to neighborhood festivals over the years, and in 2002 erected a brand new head
office in the shadows of the original factory. The company's arrival in
St. Henri one hundred years ago represented an investment, not simply in a
business venture, but also in the local economy.
"Far from being a faceless company detached from the neighborhood it
calls home, Imperial Tobacco Canada has always been involved in this
community," added Mr. Kemball.
Imperial Tobacco Canada is committed to the highest standards of social
responsibility as set out in its statement of business principles. The company
also complies with the Imagine Canada commitment of donating at least 1% of
pre-tax profits. Imperial Tobacco Canada has shaped arts and culture, fashion,
sports and human services over the years and today its Foundation is focused
on arts and culture, care for the elderly and education.
"Even after one hundred years of passion and innovation, the future is
still filled with challenges which Imperial Tobacco Canada will meet with
success. To do so, we must continue to understand and identify the needs of
adult Canadian smokers and deliver on their expectations," added Mr. Kemball.
About Imperial Tobacco Canada
Imperial Tobacco Canada was founded on June 11, 1908 and continues to be
the Canadian tobacco industry leader. The company, whose head office is based
in Montreal, is a wholly owned subsidiary of British American Tobacco (BAT)
since 2000 and directly employs 793 people.
Imperial Tobacco Canada conducts its activities under the concept of
sustainable development from an economic, social and environmental standpoint.
For any additional information on Imperial Tobacco Canada please go to
Highlights of 100 years of achievements
In the sporting world...
- Its 30- and 27-years sponsorship of men's and women's golf was the
biggest contribution any company has made to Canadian golf.
- With the help of Imperial Tobacco Canada, the Royal Canadian Golf
Association bought Glen Abbey, the home course for the Canadian Open golf
tournament starting in 1977.
- Imperial Tobacco Canada was instrumental in bringing the du Maurier
Classic to Canada and making this women's golf tournament one of the
major events on the Ladies' Professional Golf Association tour. The event
contributed to the overall development of women's golf in Canada.
- Imperial Tobacco Canada sponsored international events on the men's and
women's tennis circuit for over 20 years. The events were alternately
staged in Montreal and Toronto and brought the biggest stars in the
tennis galaxy to Canada on an annual basis.
- The Company's partnership with Tennis Canada enabled this organization
to develop national programs for tennis players and coaches at all
- Imperial Tobacco Canada's investment in infrastructures included
funding the installation of a hard court at York University in Toronto
and extensive renovations to Jarry Park in Montreal, which was renamed at
the time du Maurier Stadium. The two facilities helped in attracting the
elite players to the international tournaments in the two cities.
- Imperial Tobacco Canada was involved in motor-racing for 40 years. The
company sponsored major international events such as the Formula One
Grand Prix in Montreal and development programs that groomed a number of
Canadian drivers, elevating them to the upper echelon of motor-racing.
- Imperial Tobacco Canada initiated the staging and actual creation of
such high-profile international events as the 1972 Player's Challenge in
the Formula Atlantic series, featuring Gilles Villeneuve and his brother
Jacques, the 1987 Player's/GM Motorsport, the first real national series
in Canada, and the 1990 world prototype series, the Player's Mondial.
- The Player's Driver Development Program gained prominence with the
emergence of Jacques Villeneuve, who won the Indy 500 in 1995 driving for
the Player's IndyCar team. Over the years, such drivers as David
Empringham, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani would come through the
- Imperial Tobacco Canada's 20-year long contribution enabled Spruce
Meadows in Calgary to become the horse-jumping event with the richest
purse on the international equestrian circuit. In 1991, 10 years after
the company's involvement, the International Federation for Equestrian
Sports made the du Maurier International the premier FEI Intercontinental
- The sponsorship also helped Spruce Meadows conduct extensive expansion
and renovations to its facilities, which are currently regarded as the
best in the equestrian field.
In the arts...
- One of the largest sources of funding to artistic endeavors in Canada,
Imperial Tobacco Canada's support led to the creation of innovative
cultural events that not only encouraged the emergence of new talent but
also exposed audiences to a dazzling array of artistic and cultural
diversity. In 2006 only, Imperial Tobacco Canada, through its Foundation,
gave $2.2 million to arts and culture organizations.
du Maurier Arts Council
- Over a period of 32 years, the du Maurier Arts Council, active until
its dissolution in 2003 because of tobacco legislation, invested some
$60 million in 675 Canadian arts organizations, everything from the
biggest symphony orchestras to the smallest theatre troupes.
- The Council also provided funding to the renovation and construction of
arts venues across the country. Among the venues receiving such financial
support were Théâtre du Maurier Ltée du Monument National de Montréal
(renamed since), the du Maurier Ltd. Theatre in Guelph, Ontario (renamed
since), Capital Theatre in Moncton, Neptune Theatre in Halifax, and
Stanley Theatre in Vancouver.
Imperial Tobacco Arts Council and Imperial Tobacco Canada Arts Foundation
- After the disbanding of the du Maurier Arts Council in 2003, Imperial
Tobacco Canada decided to maintain its long-time support of the arts the
same year by establishing the Imperial Tobacco Arts Council, for smaller
Canadian arts groups with annual revenue under $1.5 million, and the
Imperial Tobacco Canada Arts Foundation, for larger cultural
organizations with annual revenue exceeding $1.5 million.
- In 1986, Imperial Tobacco Canada came to the rescue of the Vancouver
International Jazz Festival, and thus began a history of Imperial Tobacco
Canada's support for yet another artistic genre. The company went on to
foster the creation of a network of jazz events throughout the country.
The events included at the time the Downtown Jazz Festival in Toronto,
the du Maurier Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon, the Jazz City in
Edmonton, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival, of which it
became the main sponsor in 1994.
du Maurier Search for Talent
- From 1977 to 1984, the du Maurier Council for the Performing Arts
sponsored an annual competition for up-and-coming Canadian musical
talent. The competition was known in its first season as the du Maurier
Search for Talent, and as the du Maurier Search for Stars in subsequent
years. Some of the winners of the talent competition were
Loreena McKennitt, Ranee Lee, the Gerald Danovitch saxophone quartet,
Sophie Rolland and Marie-Josée Simard. Long before Canadian Idol,
Imperial Tobacco Canada was again a pioneer.
du Maurier CONCERT STAGE
- The unique du Maurier CONCERT STAGE concept, established in 1995, was a
series of shows in which established performers and emerging artists
shared the same stage in providing an evening of entertainment for
audiences in venues across the country. The CONCERT STAGE talent included
the likes of Oliver Jones, Michelle Wright, Lara Fabian, Roch Voisine,
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Matinée Fashion Foundation
- Created in 1992 to support and promote Canadian fashion designers, the
Matinée Fashion Foundation distributed more than $7 million in grants
during its 11-year long history. The grants were part of the Foundation's
overall $50 million investment to promote the local fashion industry
through the supporting of such events as the launch of a new clothing
line, for example.
A chronology of 100 years of history
Imperial Tobacco Canada has crafted a remarkable history in the first
100 years of its existence. Here are some of the chronological highlights
of this century of passion and innovation:
- 1908: Imperial Tobacco Company of Canada, a predecessor of the actual
company, was incorporated under British ownership to acquire the
undertaking and all the assets of the American Tobacco Company of Canada.
The company took over 23 of its 25 brands, as well as the "Sweet
Caporal" factory on St. Antoine Street in the St. Henri district of
Montreal. The Sweet Caporal brand accounted for 50% of Imperial Tobacco
Canada's sales at this time.
- 1912: Sir Mortimer Davis, who had been bestowed a knighthood, and was
one of the heir-sons of Canada's leading cigar company, S. Davis and
Sons, is named the first president of Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., a
post he would retain until 1926.
- 1946: The Company opened a tobacco treatment factory in Aylmer,
Ontario, a modern and facility. This would be followed in 1947 by the
opening of a factory in Joliette, Quebec, and in 1959 by the inauguration
of a production facility in Guelph, Ontario, the world's most modern
tobacco factory at the time.
- 1968: Imperial Tobacco Canada sought to demonstrate the Company's
interest in the preservation of Canadian lands and wildlife by creating
the White Owl Conservation award (1968-1995) given to individual or group
making a significant contribution to conservation in Canada.
- 1970: IMASCO (IMperial and ASsociated COmpanies) is created in order to
reflect Imperial Tobacco Company of Canada Limited's diversification. The
company was divided in three business divisions: tobacco products, food
and UCS (A division of United Cigars Stores Limited, Grower's Wine
Company Limited and Simtel/Editel).
- 1972: The three leading Canadian tobacco manufacturers unanimously and
voluntarily developed and adopted a revised code of conduct governing the
advertising their products. The code included a limit on the amount of
money they could spend on advertising, the withdrawal of all television
and radio advertising and the placement of a warning about the potential
health risks of smoking on packaging.
- 1973: Imperial Tobacco Canada, an active member of St.Henri community,
organized the first neighborhood party in that district. It became, for a
number of years, an annual tradition in the community.
- 1980: The first referendum on Quebec's political future is held. While
there is a post-referendum exodus by a number of major Montreal companies
to move their head offices to Toronto, Imperial Tobacco Canada reaffirmed
its commitment to the St. Henri district and the city of Montreal.
- 2000: Imperial Tobacco Canada joined BAT group.
- 2002: Imperial Tobacco Canada employees inaugurated their new head
office at 3711 St. Antoine Street, an investment of over $30 million,
reaffirming the company's commitment to the St. Henri district.
- 2005: The Imperial Tobacco Canada Foundation is created, a funding body
that continues the long term tradition of providing support to arts and
culture and in such other areas as healthcare and social services,
medical research, and post-secondary education.
- 2006: Imperial Tobacco Canada became the first tobacco company in
Canada to implement Direct-to-Store Delivery, hence doubling its sale
force, on a national scale.
- 2007: Imperial Tobacco Canada published its first Social Report and
fulfilled one of its commitments by organizing a National Forum "No to
the Illegal Sale of Tobacco Products" to discuss and take action on the
illegal sale of tobacco products. Imperial Tobacco Canada is also
committed to harm reduction. Thus, the company started to conduct test-
markets on a reduced-harm product call snus.
- June 11, 2008: Imperial Tobacco Canada will celebrate its 100th
anniversary. A Century of passion and innovation as an active member of
the St.Henri community who contributes in the local, national and
For further information:
For further information: Sophie Alarie, Corporate Affairs, Imperial
Tobacco Canada, (514) 932-6161, extension 2381, Cell.: (514) 690-0148,