Celebrating 100 Years Est. 1911
1910s
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2011-Beyond
  • Our Company
    World Events
    • The first commercial natural gas well in Canada was completed in Essex County in 1889 and the natural gas industry was still finding its way when The Union Natural Gas Company of Canada, Limited was founded December 19, 1911.

      1911

      At its founding on Dec. 19, Union Gas was called The Union Natural Gas Company of Canada, Limited merging Volcanic Oil and Gas Company, United Fuel Supply Company Ltd. and the Ridgetown Fuel Supply Company. The former rivals were intent on controlling and conserving natural gas from the Tilbury Oil Field for their customers in southwestern Ontario.

      Field and Pipeline operations were directed from a former residence on the North side of Wellington Street in Chatham while the head office for the new company was in Niagara Falls.

      1913

      Drilling was booming and operations were now underway in Essex, Kent, Middlesex, Elgin, Brant, Wentworth, Norfolk, Welland, Haldimand, Lincoln, Oxford, Waterloo and Wellington. Union had a new rival in the Southern Ontario Gas Company, which like Union Gas was taking gas from the Tilbury field. Southern had built a compressor plant so Union decided to build the Port Alma Compressor plant.

      1914

      The McDermid well in Dawn Township starting flowing, which would later play a large role in Union's growth as a company.

      Ontario introduced legislation ensuring the safety of natural gas products and construction began on the Port Alma Compressor plant to scrub natural gas from the Tilbury fields of hydrogen sulfide.

      1917

      WW1 created a vast munitions industry with a huge appetite for inexpensive natural gas, which became a supply problem for gas companies. Early in 1917 Union notified its customers that industrial consumption would have to be curtailed or even cut off. There were real worries whether there would be enough natural gas for the coming winter.

      1918

      The Big Blizzard hit in early January and later forced the federal government to close all stores and factories for three days to save fuel.

      It was before the era of storage, and a natural gas shortage coincided with the Big Blizzard. The province stepped in under the powers of the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board (ORMB) to investigate supplies and impose gas restrictions on many non-residential customers. It also led to the first rates hearing and a requirement that every service pipe would have to have a regulating meter. More

      1919

      At the request of Ontario's Mines Minister, an Advisory Board made up of rural and urban interests, gas producers and distributors produced an extensive list of recommendations in January to protect all interests including government and consumers. By April, The Board's recommendations formed the basis of the Natural Gas Act of 1919.

      Union Gas also decided in 1919 to move its Head Office from Niagara Falls to Chatham where it already operated its field and pipeline operations.

    • World events would dominate the 1910's almost overshadowing the many changes about to occur that would dramatically change the way people would live and work.

      1911

      Canada was still a very young country 44 years after Confederation and a decade after the death of Queen Victoria. Women in most countries, including Canada, could not yet vote. In the US, Orville Wright set a world record that would stand another ten years for keeping a glider in the air for 9 minutes and 45 seconds.

      Immigration boosted Canada's population to 7.2 million by 1911 but fewer than half lived in urban areas. Toronto would get its first hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls in May 1911.

      1913

      After introducing the Model-T Ford in 1908, Henry Ford installed the world's first automotive assembly line to mass-produce his cars. Seeing his workers as potential consumers, he raised workers wages to $5 a day so they could afford to buy the vehicles in four months. The demand for gasoline would drive the oil industry for years to come.

      1914

      First World War began in June with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Eventually 70 million military personnel worldwide would be mobilized during the combat, with 9 million combatants killed in one of the largest wars in history.

      On a lighter note, tinker toys were invented as a wartime amusement and Charlie Chaplin made his movie debut.

      1917

      In April, Canadian troops won the three-day battle of Vimy Ridge. It was the first time that all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, made up of troops from across the country, fought together. The Battle of Vimy Ridge came a week after the US declared war on Germany and entered the war.

      1918

      The Spanish Flu is declared a pandemic in August. In the following six months, 30 million people died from the flu outbreak, more than twice the death count from the First World War.

      After four long years, the First World War ended with an Armistice on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month. Over 600,000 Canadians fought the war in Europe which killed 70,000 Canadian soldiers and left 173 000 wounded.

      1919

      Canadian soldiers returned from war to find cities crowded with new immigrants, high unemployment, inflation and labour unrest fuelled in part by the success of the Russian Revolution in 1917. All that contributed to the Winnipeg General Strike in May and June when almost every worker in Winnipeg went on strike. The strike became a riot on Bloody Saturday, June 21, and fearing more violence, workers ended the strike five days later. It would take another 20 years before collective bargaining was recognized in Canada.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • The end of the First World War sparked a period of expansion for Union Gas and by 1920 it was clear that the company was a survivor, could weather adversity and outlast less determined rivals.

      1920

      An amendment to the year-old Natural Gas Act gave the province of Ontario almost absolute control over the industry and calls for higher rates and more regulations governing natural gas use. Rates would triple, from 25 cents to 75 cents. After months of debate, Union Gas shuts off supply to Blenheim, Dresden, Essex, Ridgetown and Tilbury, which adamantly refuse to pay higher rates. A truce is arranged and service restored while the province sorts out how to handle the situation.

      1921

      In April, The Natural Gas Act 1921 places the natural gas industry in Ontario under regulation and authorizes the natural gas Commissioner to review, regulate, and ration natural gas production, transmission and distribution. It also empowers the Commissioner to set fair rates and reduce natural gas wastage by promoting more efficient natural gas appliances. The era of large quantities of gas, sold at extremely low prices for use in primitive appliances was essentially over.

      1923

      Union Gas acquires the Northern Pipeline Company from Tilbury to Wallaceburg for $67,000. More expansion will soon follow.

      1924

      The Port Alma natural gas purification plant, which removes sulphur from natural gas, is completed. This is the first installation in the world to use the Koppers process on natural gas at high pressure.

      1925

      Union Gas anticipated a supply shortage and decided local production needed to be increased by continued drilling and exploration in southwestern Ontario. It also acquires the Sarnia Gas Company plant, property and distribution system for $230,000.

      1927

      Union Gas continues consolidating the natural gas distribution system in order to improve efficiency and eliminate wastage in local systems, standardize plants and practices and increase profits. This year alone, Union Gas acquires the Windsor Gas Company, Petrolia Utilities and the Chatham Gas Company.

      1928

      To supplement its exploration effort Union Gas establishes a fuel oil gas plant in Windsor, accompanied by four Horton spheres for peak delivery and gas storage.

      1929

      Union Gas hires Dr. Charles Evans away from the federal government’s Department of Mines and Natural Resources to be its full-time geologist. He had participated in the recent Geological Survey of Canada. By the end of the decade, Union Gas is a natural gas exploration and development, production, transmission and distribution, and sales company serving most of southwestern Ontario along Lake Erie and the Detroit and Thames rivers.

    • It was the Roaring Twenties - the decade known for jazz, prohibition, the birth of radio and "talking" movies, and a post-war economic boom in Europe. In Ontario, workers head to cities for better paying factory jobs.

      1920

      With the First World War still a recent memory, Canada becomes a founding member of the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations. The goal is to prevent future wars. The Royal Northwest Mounted Police get a name change and become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

      Boston Red Sox sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 changing both team’s fortunes for decades, and Prohibition comes to the US, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

      1921

      Communism is beginning to take root in Europe and the Communist Party in China is founded. Later than other provinces, Ontario decides to ban liquor imports and organized crime finds a strong market for bootleg alcohol on both sides of the Canada-US border.

      1924

      William Lyon Mackenzie King is Prime Minister and Canada unfurls the Red Ensign as our official flag. J. Edgar Hoover becomes the Director of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), which will later be re-named the FBI.

      1925

      The Chrysler Corporation of Canada is incorporated and builds 4,474 cars at the former Maxwell-Chalmers plant in Windsor. In Italy, Benito Mussolini announces he’s assuming dictatorial control of the country.

      1927

      The silent film industry will never be the same after the debut of The Jazz Singer, the first “talkie” which features six songs by its star, Al Jolson. The first Mickey Mouse talking film, Steamboat Willie would follow a year later.

      1929

      The good times associated with the Roaring Twenties end with the stock market crash on Wall Street in October 1929. The crash of the Toronto and Montreal stock exchanges follows and the Great Depression begins. Months before the crash, the Ambassador Bridge opens linking Detroit and Windsor. Today it’s the busiest border crossing in North America and carries more than 25 per cent of the trade between Canada and the US.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • The Great Depression is underway and the 1930's will present many challenges but Union Gas will begin and end the decade building for the future.

      1930

      Union Gas has its eye on the future. Head office in Niagara Falls is moved to Chatham and the company quickly expands into new markets. Service to Hamilton begins in 1930, then Union Gas acquires City Gas of London and constructs a plant in Windsor to produce a "high grade artificial gas."

      1931

      The Union Natural Gas Company of Canada, Limited drops the word "Natural" and changes its name to Union Gas Company of Canada Limited.

      1932

      As the Great Depression deepens Union Gas finds itself in dire financial straights after using a generous line of credit to fund expansions. Now it cuts salaries and sells some undeveloped leases to reduce its debt to a manageable level. At this same time founder Eugene Coste wants to find a way to supply London with natural gas and Union Gas begins negotiations with Imperial Oil in Sarnia for still gas.

      1935

      In February, London holds a referendum and approves gas service, leading to construction of Union Gas' London pipeline. The Dawn to London pipeline is completed in late September enabling service to London's 17,000 customers two weeks later.

      1936

      Demand for service in London expands so quickly, Union Gas lays a second 10" pipeline from Dawn to London.

      1938

      After acquiring the Hamilton franchise at the start of the decade, Union Gas competes with Dominion Natural Gas Company, which has the distribution rights for adjoining Barton Township, which Hamilton plans to annex. The two companies finally reach an agreement in 1938 that sees Union Gas acquire Dominion's $1 million dollar distribution facilities in the annexed area in exchange for 50% of Union Gas' holdings in United Fuel Investments, the parent company of United Gas.

      1939

      The re-organization of United Fuel Investments under the joint control of Union Gas and Dominion is finally approved and at long last Union Gas is able to consolidate its position in the Hamilton area. Union Gas is now solidly established in Hamilton, has another profitable market in London and is handling the ever-increasing demands of the border cities. All is well until September and the outbreak of the Second World War. Almost overnight the demand for gas suddenly soars and all gas companies, including Union Gas, are hard-pressed to meet the growing requirements.

    • For most of the 1930's, every country in the world feels the effects of The Great Depression, the longest and most widespread economic depression of the century. Some economies begin to recover in the mid 1930's but the Depression will last until the start of World War II.

      1930

      Stalin creates farm collectives in Russia and Mahatma Gandhi starts civil disobedience in India and sets off on a 200-mile protest march to protest the British monopoly on salt. The planet Pluto is discovered, and Scotch tape and Hostess Twinkies make their debut. In Canada, an amendment to the Canadian export law places a total embargo on liquor shipments from Canadian ports to any countries under prohibition.

      1931

      The Star-Spangled Banner becomes the US national anthem and US President Hoover goes to New York City to open the Empire State Building. At 102 stories, in 1930 it’s the world’s tallest building. Maple Leaf Gardens opens November 12 in Toronto with the Leafs losing 2-1 to Chicago Blackhawks.

      1932

      Unemployment reaches 6 million in Germany as the Depression sweeps worldwide. US unemployment reaches 25% and Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected President. Canada's unemployment rate is 20% but there's something to cheer about when Canada wins the Gold medal in hockey at the Olympics and the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.

      1933

      Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany and the first German concentration camp opens at Dachau outside Munich. 1933 is considered the worst year of the Depression, with unemployment peaking in the US at 25.2%. Five-year-old Shirley Temple signs a movie contract with Fox and by year-end, Prohibition comes to an end in the US.

      1934

      Adolf Hitler becomes Fuhrer of Germany making him head of state as well as Chancellor of Germany.

      Crime is big news. John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and their gang rob a bank and later escape an FBI ambush. Bonnie and Clyde kill two Texas patrolmen and are both killed by police a month later. In Canada, Jack Bannon kidnaps and robs London's John Labatt.

      The birth of the Dionne quintuplets near Callandar, Ontario captures world attention. They'll become the first quints in the world to survive infancy.

      1936

      Thousands die in a heat wave that begins in the US southwest and spreads across the entire continent, killing 780 Canadians, including nearly 600 in Ontario. Toronto was the worst hit, with 225 heat-related deaths after the temperature hit a record 41.1ºC.

      The 1936 Olympics open in Berlin and become the first sports event televised in world history.

      1937

      General Motors ends a sit-down strike by recognizing the United Automobile Workers union. A spark ignites the German airship Hindenburg while mooring in New Jersey. It burns to the ground in less than two minutes, killing 33 people and injuring 12. Only 64 people escaped serious injury.

      1938

      Tensions are rising around the world. The Spanish Civil War is underway. Germany occupies Austria and annexes it the next day. Russia declares it's intent to defend Czechoslovakia from a threatened invasion by Germany and nations are conferring about what to do about the rise of Nazi Germany.

      1939

      Universal health care comes to Canada in May with passage of the The Canadian Health Act. Months later, on September 10, 1939 Canada declares war on Germany and enters the WW2 alongside Britain and France.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • As the decade begins, Canada is engaged in WW2 and the war effort is already draining Ontario natural gas reserves. After decades of growth, Union Gas has to turn its attention instead to supply concerns.

      1940

      In August, the federal Department of Munitions and Supply, through the Federal Power Controller, assumes control of all gas supplies. The Ontario natural gas commissioner warns that munitions plants would have first claim on any natural gas available and orders gas-heating units removed from homes, businesses, and industries not essential to the war effort.

      1941

      Union Gas enters an agreement with Imperial Oil to purchase their by-product known as "Still Gas" on a contract basis and begins clearing land south of Sarnia for a $900,000 plant for further processing, purifying and reforming the still gas. A plan evolves to store the reformed still gas in underground storage using "existing gas wells."

      1942

      Union Gas decides to store their supply of still gas in the pinnacle reef formations at Dawn in Lambton County. Company geologist, Dr. C. S. Evans is convinced the domes of porous limestone covered over by impervious rock would be ideal for storage and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts Union Gas feeds the first still gas into Dawn Storage in September 1942. This would prove to be very significant for Union Gas, as well as Ontario and Canada and will open the door to bringing natural gas here later from the US and Western Canada.

      1944

      As the war continues, supply of gas remains a big concern and Union Gas enters a twenty-year agreement to receive 5.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas every year from April until November from The Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company for storage at Dawn where it could be recovered and distributed in Ontario.

      1945

      Demand for gas remains high with WW2 nearing an end and the government forces Union Gas to divert "substantial quantities" of gas to their competitor, Dominion Natural Gas to head off a complete shut-off of service to Dominion's 24,000 customers.

      1946

      With the war now over, a new pipeline is built just west of Windsor under the Detroit River connecting the Union Gas storage facility at Dawn with pipeline to Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company's storage in Michigan so Dawn can receive US gas annually from April to November when US demand is low.

      1948

      It's taking time for Union Gas to restore service to their customers who had burners removed during the war and employee morale is low because of layoffs forced by supply shortages so Union Gas decides it’s necessary to communicate more with employees and customers. The Gas Line, an internal magazine is launched and the company begins a public relations program to inform customers and the general public about what is happening with the company, through news releases, advertising and promotional literature.

      1949

      It's taking time for Union Gas to restore service to their customers who had burners removed during the war and employee morale is low because of layoffs forced by supply shortages so Union Gas decides it’s necessary to communicate more with employees and customers. The Gas Line, an internal magazine is launched and the company begins a public relations program to inform customers and the general public about what is happening with the company, through news releases, advertising and promotional literature.

    • The Forties decade easily divides in two - WW2 occupies global attention until 1945 then the post-war era begins and with it, the baby boom that would influence decades to come.

      1940

      Canada, like Britain is engaged in war in Europe. Sugar, butter and meat are rationed in Britain after German submarines sink ships bringing food and other goods to Britain. Later in the year, Japan declares an alliance with Germany. In Canada, conscription or "the draft" is introduced for homeland defense and in August, Unemployment Insurance is introduced.

      1941

      The New Year begins with the founding of the CBC news division. Most of the world is now engaged in conflict and as the year draws to a close, the Japanese Navy attacks the US fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7 bringing the Americans into WW2. Canada declares war on Japan the same day.

      The longest hitting streak in baseball comes to an end at 56 games when Cleveland pitchers keep the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio off the bases.

      1942

      The war in the Pacific is not going well for the Allies until late in the year when major victories at Midway and the Coral Sea seem to turn things around. The Allied Forces in Europe have moved into North Africa. Canada invokes the War Measures Act and interns Japanese Canadians as possible security threats. Most movies out of Hollywood feature war themes but the biggest hit of the year is Bing Crosby's song White Christmas in the movie Holiday Inn.

      1944

      The Allies invade Normandy on D-Day, June 6. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division lands at Juno Beach as part of the Invasion of Normandy. At the end of July, the Ist Canadian Army is activated in Normandy and becomes the largest combat force ever placed under Canadian command.

      1945

      Canadians celebrate the end of the war in Europe with VE Day in May and the end of the Pacific conflict with VJ Day in August. In June, Canada is one of 50 countries to sign the World Security Charter that creates the United Nations. There are two significant "firsts" this year – the first family allowance payments and the first time Canada has a trade surplus with the US.

      1946

      The Canadian Citizenship Act is enacted creating a Canadian citizenship separate from the British although it does include a reference that Canadian citizens are British subjects. Soldiers are returning from war but jobs and housing are hard to find.

      1948

      Indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated as the year begins. In a July referendum, the Dominion of Newfoundland votes 52 per cent to 48 per cent to join Canada and begin negotiations to join Confederation.

      1949

      Britain's oldest colony, Newfoundland, becomes Canada’s tenth province on March 31st, 1949. The political world is changing as the Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb and Chairman Mao proclaims The People's Republic of China, as a communist country. Prosperity is returning to North America with manufacturers again producing consumer goods but the Volkswagen Beetle finds only two buyers in its first year of US sales.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • The 1950's ushers in a period of rapid expansion for Union Gas. Soldiers back from the war are buying homes, starting families and fuelling a boom with a new consumer-led economy. Union Gas experiences phenomenal growth, expanding its position in southwestern and south central Ontario and doubling its sales in the first five years of the decade.

      1950

      Eager to expand, Union Gas plans a 140-mile transmission line from its Dawn Storage facility along a route passing near London, St. Marys, Stratford, Waterloo and Kitchener to a terminal point at Hamilton with a branch line to Guelph. It also begins another key expansion project - a 63-mile transmission line from Windsor to Dawn, needed to handle larger volumes of US gas. It's a busy year for Union Gas, acquiring new franchises, renewing franchise agreements and purchasing controlling interest in United Fuel Investments Limited of Hamilton, which owns Dominion Natural Gas Company.

      1951

      The $2.5 million Dawn-to- Windsor transmission pipeline is completed. At the time it's the biggest gas pipeline in Canada, boasting a capacity of 75 million cubic feet of gas per day, which is enough gas to heat about 30,000 homes for a year. At its 40-year anniversary, Union Gas also makes a two-storey addition to its Head Office building on Fifth Street in Chatham and establishes a personnel department, largely to deal with increasingly complex labour-management relations.

      1952

      The long-planned 40-mile duplicate pipeline from Dawn to London is built.

      1953

      On May 21 a tornado sweeps through Sarnia destroying 150 homes and many commercial buildings and causing millions of dollars damage. Hydro and telephone lines come down in the storm but the gas-distribution system suffers minimal damage because its line are buried underground. With no phone service available, Union Gas employees voluntarily rushed to the scene and the company's two-way radio service played a vital role in dealing with the local emergency.

      1955

      Union Gas sales doubled between 1950 and 1955 and an agreement for more US Panhandle gas is still awaiting approval from US authorities. Now there's talk of transmitting Alberta gas to eastern Canada, with Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Ltd. the front-runner to receive the necessary authorization. Union Gas signs a 20 year agreement with Trans-Canada and a pipeline from Alberta to Toronto is expected by the end of 1956.

      1956

      Trans-Canada's pipeline plans are running about two years behind schedule due to financing problems and a steel strike which holds up pipe deliveries. Fortunately, Panhandle is finally authorized to deliver 15.5 billion cubic feet annually to Union Gas. In an effort to ensure sufficient supplies in the future, Union Gas signs another agreement for more Alberta gas in years to come.

      1957

      Union Gas reaches a new milestone when it installs its one-hundred-thousandth meter of pipe. That meant an increase of 20,000 meters in five years. Union Gas is quickly developing an industry-wide reputation for excellent storage and opens its third underground reservoir, the Payne pool, which more than doubles the company's storage capacity.

      1958

      The acquisition of Dominion Natural Gas Company of Hamilton is the biggest yet for Union Gas and gives the company access to a large Central Ontario market with great potential. Near the end of the year, construction is finally complete on the 2,294-miles, $400 million TransCanada pipeline.

      1959

      Union Gas receives its first western Canada gas in October 1959, a year after the first Alberta gas comes to Ontario.

    • The Cold War is beginning with the US and Soviet Union emerging as super-powers with competing ideologies. In North America, the consumer revolution has started as families rush to fill their homes with newer technologies including televisions, and teens are screaming their approval of rock 'n roll.

      1950

      US President Harry Truman approves production of the hydrogen bomb. The Korean War begins with the US and Soviets supporting opposing sides and US General Douglas MacCarthur leading the UN forces. Zenith invents the first television remote control called the Lazy Bones, and Disney releases Cinderella at the movies.

      1951

      The US tests the first nuclear bomb in Nevada. North American culture is changing with hit shows like I Love Lucy attracting sales in televisions, DJ Alan Freed coins the phrase Rock N Roll, and The National Ballet of Canada gives its first performance. The world’s first cobalt radiotherapy for cancer treatment, developed in Canada by Harold Johns and others, is installed at Victoria Hospital in London Ontario.

      1952

      Elizabeth II becomes Queen of England and the Commonwealth upon the death of her father King George VI.

      1953

      The Korean War ends in a truce, and Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay make the first successful ascent to the summit of Mount Everest. North American culture is shifting some more with Marilyn Munro on the cover of the first issue of Playboy magazine, and Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.

      1955

      The St. Lawrence Seaway opens to ocean vessels for ports from Montreal through the Great Lakes. The Mickey Mouse clubs debuts on television, the same year Disneyland opens in California. The standard of living continues to improve for North Americans and 7 out of 10 households now have a car. The first McDonalds opens and Coca-Cola starts putting its pop in cans for the first time.

      1956

      The Suez Crisis erupts when Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal, which prompts Israel to attack Egypt and Britain and France to bomb Egypt. Canada's Lester Pearson, then Secretary of External Affairs, proposes a UN emergency force to deal with the Suez crisis leading to a cease-fire. Elvis Presley enters the music charts for the first time with Heartbreak Hotel and makes an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

      1957

      Lester Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his proposal to end The Suez Crisis with what was the first peacekeeping force for the UN. Two-thirds of all new cars are now purchased on credit and American Bandstand makes its television debut. When the Soviet Union launches its space satellite Sputnik I, the Space Age begins.

      1958

      The US enters the Space race, creates NASA and launches its first satellite. Toyota and Datsun cars go on sale in North America and over 100 million Hula Hoops are sold as the craze sweeps the continent. Pope John XXIII becomes head of the Catholic Church.

      1959

      Alaska and Hawaii are admitted as the 49th and 50th states in the USA. Fidel Castro leads revolutionaries to victory and takes command of the Cuban army. A week later, the US recognizes Castro's new government in Cuba.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • Extraordinary change is on the horizon. The baby boom is in full swing as the decade begins and consumerism is driving the economy and continued growth for Union Gas. The company's annual sales will more than triple in the Sixties.

      1960

      Union Gas reflects the growth in the economy. The company now employs 1516 workers and annual sales reach 31 billion cubic feet. Most of the new homes built in the Union Gas operating area are gas-equipped and many of the area's model homes feature natural gas appliances and heating equipment. A new compressor plant is completed to pump gas from Western Canada through Union Gas’ main east-west transmission line to the Lambton storage fields. The new plant is called the Trafalgar station, and contains five compressors with a combined rating of 3,600 horsepower.

      1961

      Union Gas celebrates its Golden Anniversary - fifty years of service to customers in Ontario. A new compressor plant is completed to pump natural gas from western Canada and the company's workforce grows to 2004 employees. Annual sales reach 34 billion cubic feet. Natural gas is being used more and more to cure tobacco as growers appreciate the economy and precise temperature control that natural gas offers.

      1962

      One of the most popular exhibits at the London Home and Garden show this year is a model kitchen that features a complete line of modern natural gas equipment including an eye-level oven, hideaway surface burners, a refrigerator with automatic ice-maker and twin washer-dryer units. Union Gas' annual sales rise to 42.4 billion cubic feet and the company's five underground storage pools in Lambton County are filled almost to capacity during the summer injection period.

      1963

      Planning begins for the construction of much-needed additional office facilities at Union Gas' head office in Chatham. Annual sales reach 49.9 billion cubic feet and there’s a new product capturing consumer attention - an outdoor barbecue that employs a gas flame and a bed of ceramic briquettes to produce an even, steady heat to all points on the grill.

      1964

      Union Gas adds another compressor at its Dawn facility to further increase its capacity for natural gas storage and transmission. It's needed because annual sales have grown by more than 20 billion cubic feet since the start of the decade and now tally 52.9 billion cubic feet. The company now has 2039 employees eagerly awaiting expanded office facilities.

      1965

      Construction of the new Union Gas head office gets underway to accommodate the company's more than 2,000 employees and the company opens a service centre in Sarnia. Annual sales continue to grow, reaching 61.8 billion cubic feet. The self-cleaning oven successfully launches this year, made possible by developments in porcelain-enameled steel and specially designed burners and gas controls.

      1966

      Completion of the company's new head office in Chatham brings all staff departments together under one roof for the first time since 1954. Approximately 250 employees are the first to move into 20 general office areas and 69 individual offices. Annual sales have more than doubled since the start of the decade and now reach 66.9 billion cubic feet.

      1967

      It's Canada's Centennial year and Union Gas celebrates by co-sponsoring a Natural Gas Hospitality Pavilion at Expo 67. The company's workforce remains steady with 2038 employees and sales jump to 85.7 billion cubic feet.

      1968

      Union Gas' home service employees create a presentation combining tips on cooking, fashion and homemaking and take the show on the road. They'll visit 82 high schools across southwestern Ontario and stage the presentation for more than 23,000 students. In the fall of 1968, Union Gas opens a combined administrative and service building in London. For the first time, annual sales top 100 billion cubic feet, ending the fiscal year at 100.1 billion cubic feet.

      1969

      During the decade, annual sales have grown from 31 billion in 1960 to 112.5 billion cubic feet by 1969. After opening its new London facility the year before, construction begins on a similar facility in Windsor.

    • It will be a different world by the time the Sixties end. The good times of the 1950’s are replaced with the upheaval of the cultural revolution, the emergence of the civil rights and feminist movements, political assassinations, the Vietnam War and youth activism around the world. And, as the decade nears its end, man will walk on the moon for the first time.

      1960

      US Senator John Kennedy defeats Vice President Richard Nixon to become the youngest President of the United States. Canada's Parliament approves the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Elections Act is amended so that Canada's status Indians would not be required to give up their treaty rights in order to vote in federal elections.

      1961

      CIA agents for the US launch a disastrous invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs heightening tensions between the US and Cuba. In Liverpool, a group called The Beatles performs for the first time at the Cavern Club.

      1962

      Canadians get universal health care for the first time when the Medical Care Insurance Act takes effect. US astronaut John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth. In February, the US bans Cuban imports and exports a month after Cuba signs a trade pact with the Soviet Union. In October, a US spy plane takes photos of the Soviet Union installing nuclear weapons in Cuba, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis and a standoff between the US and Soviet Union that threatens the world with nuclear war.

      1963

      In world is shocked by the November assassination of US President John F. Kennedy and the murder days later of his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. It's a good year for the Maple Leafs - they beat Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.

      1964

      Canada gets new flag - the single red maple leaf on a white background between two red bars. The US signs the Civil Rights Act but that doesn't stop the racial tension growing in many American cities. And the 'British Invasion' and Beatlemania begin with an appearance by the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.

      1965

      The US sends 3500 Marines to South Vietnam as their first combat troops of the Vietnam War. Civil Rights demonstrators clash with police in Selma, Alabama on Bloody Sunday. Days later, in response to events in Selma, US President Lyndon Johnson sends a bill to Congress that becomes the basis of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      1966

      People were still wearing the styles of the 1950's until 1966 when the mini-skirt changed everything. Influenced by fashions from London's Carnaby Street, skirts rose way above the knee and both men and women started sporting colourful flowers, stripes and the designs now considered iconic Sixties fashion.

      1967

      Canada celebrates its Centennial. Our population reaches 20,500,000 and Centennial events are staged throughout the country. The primary Centennial celebration is Expo 67 in Montreal, which attracts 50 million visits between April and October and is considered the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century.

      1968

      The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. unleashes race riots in the US. Months later, Americans are in mourning again after the assassination of John F. Kennedy's brother, Senator Robert Kennedy who was running for president. In Canada, Trudeaumania captures national attention and sweeps the flamboyant Pierre Elliot Trudeau into power with a majority Liberal government.

      1969

      On July 21, 1969 US astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to set foot on the moon. Stepping out of the lunar landing module, he puts his left foot on the surface of the moon and famously says, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • The decade is challenging for Union Gas as it overcomes the threat of takeover, labour unrest, supply concerns and even a major disaster in its service territory. Growth continues though and Union Gas employees are hailed as heroes by the time the decade ends.

      1970

      Union Gas successfully thwarts a takeover bid from rival Consumer's Gas, which serves customers in Metro Toronto, eastern Ontario, Quebec and New York State. The Union Gas Board of Director’s vigorously oppose the takeover and notify shareholders they'll advise the Ontario Energy Board the bid should be denied. The Ontario government settles the matter in July when it Cabinet announces it will not approve Consumers' application.

      Union Gas begins testing natural gas vehicles (NGV) and attracts interested crowds when it displays Union Gas trucks testing the fuel at fairs and exhibitions.

      1971

      Union Gas opens an office in Calgary to keep in closer touch with the oil and gas exploration it has initiated three years earlier. To keep employees and their families better informed about the company, Union Gas replaces 'The Gas Line' publication with 'The Pilot' and mails the newsletter to employees' homes.

      1972

      Union Gas Company of Canada, shortens its name to Union Gas Limited.

      1973

      Union Gas amalgamates with United Gas of Hamilton and expands into the Hamilton area. The two companies have a forty-five year relationship and the amalgamation adds new efficiencies and cost savings.

      1974

      This may be Union Gas' most challenging year yet. Inflation is running at about ten per cent in Canada and after a long period of labour peace, Union Gas faces a strike by 903 unionized operating workers and 168 unionized clerical staff. The strike lasts six months.

      The company has been constructing a number of new pipelines but none bigger than the 42” diameter pipeline it begins in 1974. There are cracking problems with the pipe and it has to be removed and replaced before the pipeline is finished the following year.

      Union Gas also faces a gas supply problem so severe it may not be able to meet customer demands. There are indications that natural gas reserves in Western Canada are dwindling to the point that gas could soon be in short supply. In response, Union Gas signs a long-term contract with Petrosar in Sarnia for the purchase of Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) at almost double the price it was paying for natural gas from Western Canada. That "premium" price was a sore point with Union Gas until the contract with Petrosar expired in 1993.

      1977

      Union Gas continues to build its storage capacity and by 1977 the company can say with justifiable pride that no other Canadian gas utility has comparable storage. The Manager of Engineering and Planning, David Patterson calls the Dawn storage facility, "The Heart of Union Gas" and compares it to a metropolitan railway switch-yard where as many as 800 cars were brought in and dispatched daily. The company's storage stabilizes gas supply and income and saves money for Union Gas customers.

      1979

      A freight train carrying explosive and dangerous chemicals derails in Mississauga on November 10, 1979 forcing more than 200,000 people to evacuate the area. Until the New Orleans evacuation after Katrina, Mississauga was largest peacetime evacuation ever. Emergency crews work overtime and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion later sends thanks to the Supervisor of Union Gas Eastern Compressor Station commending them for their superb work during through the emergency. She wrote, "They are a credit to themselves, as well as your company, and you should be justifiably proud of them."

    • The world changes greatly during The Seventies with rapid inflation, a world Oil Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the rise of the women’s movement all taking centre stage at various times.

      1970

      Environmental awareness rises with the first celebration of Earth Day. Canada protests rules that ban professional hockey players from participating and withdraws from the World Hockey Championship. Canadians and the world are shocked when Canada invokes the War Measures Act after a Quebec separatist group, known as the FLQ or Front de libération du Québec kidnap British trade commissioner James Cross and kidnap and murder Quebec Labour Minister Pierre LaPorte.

      1971

      Home entertainment is forever changed when the first VCR is introduced to consumers. Oil is discovered southeast of mainland Nova Scotia on Sable Island and Ontario Place opens on Toronto's waterfront as a seasonal cultural, leisure and entertainment park.

      1972

      While viewers can watch North Vietnamese troops invade South Vietnam on the nightly news, Canadians sit glued to their TV’s for the Summit Series – the first head-to-head competition between Canada and the Soviet by professional hockey players for bragging rights to hockey supremacy. Paul Henderson becomes a national hero when his goal, with 34 seconds remaining in the final game, lifts Canada to victory in the "Series of the Century".

      1973

      In protest over US Mideast Policy, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries imposes an oil embargo on the US in October that will last until March causing long lines at gas pumps and dramatically higher prices. Construction begins on the CN tower in Toronto and the last American troops leave Vietnam.

      1974

      Richard Nixon resigns as US president when the Watergate scandal explodes. Inflation is a problem around the world. It's little comfort that Canada's inflation rate of 10.97 per cent is better than the 11.3 per cent rate facing Americans or the 17.2 per cent rise in prices in the United Kingdom. Consumers don't have work out the math in their head though thanks to the debut of the first pocket calculators.

      1975

      Canada's conversion to the metric system begins with weather offices using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit in its forecasts. The oil crisis of 1973 and the quadrupling of world oil prices prompt the federal government forms Petro-Canada as a Crown corporation for oil and gas exploration. An important road safety initiative begins with Ontario introducing mandatory seat-belt legislation.

      1976

      Montreal plays host to the world for the Summer Olympics and the United States spends the year celebrating its Bi-Centennial. A long-time Canadian tradition ends when Eatons shuts down its catalogue. The personal computer is on the horizon; on the heels of Microsoft's founding a year earlier, Apple Computers is born. In South Africa, riots mark the beginning of the end to apartheid.

      1977

      VIA rail is founded and road signs in Canada go metric in the latest phase of metric conversion. There's snow on the ground and its freezing when Toronto welcomes major league baseball to town and the Blue Jays win their home-opener 11-5 over the Chicago White Sox. The King of Rock n Roll, Elvis Presley dies suddenly from a heart attack at age 42.

      1978

      Louise Brown, born in England is the world's first test tube baby. There are three Pope’s this year; Pope Paul VI dies and is succeeded by Pope John Paul 1, who dies within weeks of becoming Pontiff. He’s succeeded by Pope John Paul the second.

      1979

      Mother Teresa wins the Nobel Peace Prize for her decades of humanitarian work in India. A meltdown occurs at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant causing widespread concern. Canadians invent the Trivial Pursuit board game and the days are numbered for vinyl records with the invention of the Compact Disc (CD).

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • Rapid technological developments, deregulation, ownership changes and shifting attitudes about dependence on foreign oil make the 1980's a remarkable decade for Union Gas.

      1980

      Following the oil embargo of the late 1970's, the Canadian government focuses on reducing Canadian dependence on foreign oil and introduces subsidies to homeowners and gas utilities to encourage conversions from oil to natural gas. The federal Distribution System Expansion Program (DSEP) helps Union Gas build pipelines and distribution systems into previously uneconomic areas. Funding from this "off-oil" program enables Union Gas to add customers and communities to its growing distribution system for the next five years.

      1981

      Union Gas invests $12.7 million to continue the expansion of its Dawn to Parkway transmission system and adds an incremental 13.5 km of 42" diameter pipeline between London and St. Marys.

      A change in payroll practices brings an end to the traditional "pay cheque" for Union Gas employees, who will now have their pay directly deposited into their bank accounts rather than have to line up to deposit a paper cheque at the bank each pay day.

      1982

      Another 28 km of 42" diameter pipeline is added from Bright to Owen Sound and from Kerwood to Strathroy further expanding Union Gas' natural gas transmission capabilities.

      Union Gas recognizes the potential advantages of personal computers recently introduced by IBM and Commodore and introduces an incentive program to encourage Union Gas employees to purchase a PC for their use at home. Employees are also offered PC training in the evenings.

      1983

      Union Gas officially launches its Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) program to encourage companies and individuals to consider natural gas as an alternative fuel for their fleets and personal vehicles.

      Union Gas retires its employee newsletter, "The Pilot" replacing it with, "On the Line", which is described as "a report on Union Gas happenings published for the dedicated people of Union Gas Limited."

      1984

      By 1984 Union Gas has spent more than $80 million expanding its 42" diameter pipeline Trafalgar system after adding another 17.5 km of pipeline from St. Marys to Beachville. The first NGV public refueling station in the Union Gas service area opens in Chatham, and Union Gas employees are encouraged to convert their personal vehicles to natural gas. It's becoming more common to see cars on the road with a white message on the back window that reads, "I run on natural gas."

      Most Union Gas letters and memos are still typewritten and "cc" means carbon copies, made with carbon paper not the 'courtesy copy' that "cc" means today. PC's are still new technology with limited business use but at Union Gas one PC per department is now the norm.

      1985

      Hamilton's transit system, the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) becomes the first in Canada to convert a bus to operate on natural gas.

      By 1985, Union Gas is viewed as a "mature utility" with future growth expected to come from diversification. In January of 1985, Union Enterprises is established as the parent company of Union Gas Limited and within its new corporate family, Union Gas (the regulated utility) is now a separate entity from its non-regulated siblings. Union Enterprises is now well positioned to grow its non-regulated business. Within weeks Union Enterprises is surprised by a successful take-over by Unicorp Canada Corporation, which purchases more than 60 per cent of Union Enterprises common shares. For the first time in its history, Union Gas is now owned by a single entity.

      In April of 1985, Union Gas announces it has signed its 500,000th customer and months later the federal government announces that effective the following year it will no longer set the price of natural gas.

      1986

      The 1985 Halloween Agreement that deregulated the natural gas industry in Canada changed forever the way that customers purchase natural gas. Before November 1, 1986 gas producers sold directly to TransCanada PipeLines (TCPL), which in turn sold it to utilities, which then sold it to end-users. After November 1, 1986, Union Gas' large industrial customers could buy gas directly from producers and TCPL would simply transport the gas to the market area where distributors like Union Gas would take the gas and deliver it to customers. Union Gas responded by introducing significant new services to the market. Industrial customers could now buy their gas through Buy/Sell and T1 contractual agreements.

      1987

      The business world is quickly adopting new technology. The fax machine is the latest new business tool and Union Gas installs one fax machine in its mailroom. Now a customer anywhere can write comments on a document and fax their document for review at Union Gas head office in Chatham within minutes.

      1988

      Computers, rare just a few years earlier, are now common at most Union Gas workstations and employees are beginning to communicate with each other using a new tool known as "e-mail".

    • Forget the status quo - everything changes in the 1980's. The decade sees everything from the introduction of personal computers, to the end of the Cold War and the emergence of Japan as the world's leading automaker.

      1980

      The decade begins with the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid New York when the US hockey team becomes the unlikely gold medal winner at the Winter Olympics. The world is shocked even more when former Beatle John Lennon is shot and killed outside his New York apartment building. By the end of the year, everyone wants to know who shot JR on the television show, Dallas. The November episode that reveals the "shooter" attracts the largest audience in television history up to that time.

      Reacting to high gas prices caused by the oil embargo of the late 1970's, consumers are buying compact cars and Japan for the first time replaces the US as the world’s largest automaker.

      1981

      As of January first, gasoline in Canada is sold by litre rather than gallon. IBM launches the first personal computer; the US launches its first Space Shuttle and with it, the Canadian Canadarm and the world watches the fairy tale wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles.

      1982

      Queen Elizabeth comes to Ottawa to sign the newly patriated constitution and the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms comes into effect. Canada and the US are into a deep recession, which will last more than a year. Days are numbered for vinyl records and 8-tracks when the first CD player is introduced.

      1983

      Ethiopia calls on the world for aid when 4 million of its people die during a famine. Word processing takes a big leap forward when Microsoft Word is first released. Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space on the Space Shuttle Challenger. The Cabbage Patch doll becomes the "must-have" toy and a record 125 million viewers tune in for the finale episode of M*A*S*H.

      1984

      Pierre Trudeau takes a walk in the snow and decides to retire as Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party. Pope John Paul II brings his Popemobile for a 12-day tour of Canada. It’s the first papal visit to Canada and proves to be one of the biggest events in Canadian history. In another Canadian "first", Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian in space. 

      "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid goes on sale to raise money to support famine relief in Ethiopia where 10 million people are threatened with starvation.

      1985

      Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and US President Ronald Reagan meet in the so-called Shamrock Summit and agree to cooperate on free trade as well as missile defense. Live Aid concerts are held around the world to help the starving in Africa. AIDS is increasing and the FDA approves the first blood test for AIDS while governments begin screening blood donations for the AIDS virus.

      Technology is evolving quickly and the first version of Windows is released and the first .com domain name is registered.

      1986

      Millions watch live television in horror as the US Space Shuttle Challenger explodes seconds after take-off killing seven US astronauts. The world’s first nuclear disaster occurs as Chernobyl Nuclear Power station explodes and releases radioactive material. Negotiations begin on a free trade agreement between Canada and the US, Canada imposes sanctions on South Africa over its apartheid policies and in Canada, deregulation of the gas industry takes effect.

      1987

      Canada introduces the "Loonie" to replace the dollar bill. The US stock market drops 22.6 per cent on October 19th with other world markets falling in the days that follow. By the end of October Canadian stocks were down by more than 22 per cent and the Hong Kong stock market was down by more than 48 per cent. Television viewers meet Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa when the Simpsons cartoon debuts on the Tracey Ulman Show.

      1988

      Canada hosts the Winter Olympics in Calgary but is unable to win any gold medals. The US unveils the stealth bomber and the first computer virus infects computers connected to the Internet.

      1989

      Political change is in the wind. The Berlin Wall comes down after massive protests on either side of the wall. Free elections in Poland bring Solidarity to power and hundreds of demonstrators are killed in a pro-democracy rally by students in China's Tiananmen Square.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • Change at Union Gas escalates at tremendous speed during the 1990’s, influenced by recessions, leadership and ownership changes, and expansion into new territories. During the decade Union Gas will more than double its customer base as it approaches the new millennium with a new environmental focus.

      1990

      Union Gas’ storage and transmission system continues to develop as a strategic link in the movement of natural gas to the east from Western Canada. Technological developments like cogeneration and industrial rapid heating equipment allow natural gas to compete with alternate forms of energy. Computer technology is evolving quickly and a new computerized dispatching system is placed in 300 company service vehicles to keep up with the latest innovations.

      1991

      Union Gas marks its 80th anniversary and celebrates that in its first eight decades the company has amassed $1.9 billion in assets, 20,000 kilometres of pipeline in southwestern Ontario and grown its customer base to 513,000. In Chatham, construction begins on the new 25,000 square foot state-of-the-art Training Centre that will be known as the Union Gas Education Centre.

      1992

      With growing awareness of environmental issues, natural gas vehicles are heralded as one of the cleanest burning vehicles available. There are now 22 public natural gas service stations and 6,800 natural gas vehicles in the Union Gas service area and the company converts 750 of its own fleet to natural gas. The recession is having an impact on consumer spending and sales of natural gas appliances like furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters drops by nine per cent from the previous year. As the year closes, ownership of the company changes when Westcoast Energy Inc of British Columbia purchases Union Gas’ parent company, Union Energy Inc.

      1993

      The national presence of the new ownership gives Union Gas new opportunities to expand its business beyond its tradition markets to other North American models. During the year, construction is completed on a 17.5 kilometre section of 48-inch diameter pipeline, which loops the Dawn-Trafalgar system to an area southwest of Stratford. This provides the added capacity needed to carry natural gas to the Empire State Pipeline.

      1994

      Union Gas begins training programs to heighten employee awareness of environmental issues and employee responsibilities under the company’s new Environmental Policy. The company also develops an auditing program to ensure Union Gas’ facilities comply with environmental laws and regulations.

      1995

      Union Gas enters a shared services agreement with Centra Gas Ontario Inc. The agreement means the two companies combined now provide energy related services for 965,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in over 385 communities across Ontario. Industrial customers now account for approximately 60 per cent of annual franchised gas deliveries.

      1996

      The Union Gas workforce has grown to 3,300 employees and combined company revenues for 1996 reach $1.8 billion with a net income of $129 million. Centra Gas’ central area employees win the Industrial Accident Prevention Association of Ontario safety award for achieving one million hours worked without an injury that results in time off the job.

      1997

      A new Customer Service Centre opens in Thunder Bay, which provides customer inquiry, billing, equipment rental, sales and service, and plant construction and maintenance for 55,000 customers in the area. Union Gas seeks approval from the Ontario Energy Board to transfer its retail merchandising programs including appliance sales, rentals, service and financing to an unregulated affiliate named Union Energy.

      1998

      The merger of Union Gas and Centra Gas is completed on January 1, 1998 and the new Union Gas now serves more than one million customers in over 400 Ontario communities – more than double its customer base at the start of the decade. The company has spent five years and invested approximately $1.6 billion in expansion improvements to its storage, transmission and distribution systems to meet customer demands and the largest distribution expansion in the company’s history is finally completed in the Bruce Peninsula.

      1999

      Company earnings are down following a series of warm winters and an early retirement program and hiring freeze take effect while the company undergoes major reorganization and restructuring. Key business processes and a redesign of how work is performed help align job functions at Union Gas as the company prepares to meet the challenges of the next century.

    • The 'Information Age' takes hold during the 1990’s as computers become mainstream in homes and businesses. North Americans become increasingly aware of domestic and international terrorism and watch horrific deeds unfold in Kosovo and Rwanda while they enjoy unprecedented prosperity at home and nervously await the arrival of Y2K.

      1991

      This year the Cold War, which began in the 1940's, will finally come to an end when the USSR collapses into fifteen sovereign republics. Lech Walesa is elected President of Poland and years of Apartheid come to an end in South Africa with a new constitution for a multicultural society. Without much fanfare, Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web, the first web browser.

      1992

      Bill Clinton becomes US president, the US and UN intervene in Somalia to end famine and civil war there and war begins in Bosnia. DNA fingerprints are invented this year and Hurricane Andrew devastates south Florida.

      1993

      Brian Mulroney resigns as Prime Minister amid economic and political turmoil. Kim Campbell, Canada’s first female Prime Minister succeeds him. Islamic fundamentalists attack the World Trade Centre in New York for the first time, exploding a van bomb parked outside the north tower. The attack kills six people and injures more than a thousand others.

      1994

      The Rwandan genocide begins that sees the mass murder of about 800,000 people in about 100 days in the east African country. Following the murder of his former wife, former NFL star O. J. Simpson flees from police in a white Ford Bronco. The police chase is followed live on television by millions of viewers.

      1995

      The Oklahoma City bombing, the worst terrorist attack in the US until that time kills 168 people including 19 children under the age of six and injures 680 others. Timothy McVeigh is stopped within 90 minutes of the explosion for driving without a license plate and arrested for carrying a weapon before he’s later linked to the bombing. Later in the year, a jury finds O.J. Simpson not guilty of murdering his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. 

      1996

      The number of users on the Internet exceeds 10 million and EBay launches. Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles ends in divorce and Mad Cow disease leads to the slaughter of herds of cattle in England. The DVD is invented and launches in Japan.

      1997

      One and a half billion people around the world watch the funeral of Princess Diana, who died after a car crash in France on August 31st. Diana's funeral takes place September 6th, a day after Mother Theresa dies of a heart attack in Calcutta.

      1998

      Google is founded and Apple introduces the iMac. Bill Clinton famously denies having "sexual relations" with Whitehouse intern Monica Lewinsky, and then later admits it.

      1999

      As the century draws to a close, Canadian retail giant, Eaton’s files for bankruptcy and #99, Wayne Gretzky decides it’s the right time to retire.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • The first decade of the new millennium brings significant changes for Union Gas. New owners, expansion and fundamental changes in the natural gas market all influence the company’s direction as it approaches its own 100-year milestone.

      2000

      To everyone's relief, the much-feared, widespread Y2K computer crash doesn’t happen and the Union Gas system performs reliably through the New Year and thereafter.

      Construction starts and finishes on the Canadian portion of the Vector Pipeline, a key new supply connecting Chicago-area natural gas hubs with the Union Gas Dawn facility and kicks off a decade of significant expansion.

      In July, Union Gas launches the latest version of its new customer information system, which continues the integration of Union Gas and Centra Gas and introduces a common customer bill across the company territory. The new system also supports consistent service, accurate billing, and one-stop service for customer enquiries.

      As the year draws to a close, the Union Gas Eastern District employees earn recognition for working over two million hours without a lost-time injury and the Industrial Accident Prevention Association awards the achievement.

      2001

      Union Gas continues to expand its storage and transmission system and adds a further seven billion cubic feet of storage to the company’s system.  Union Gas also opens its second Planning and Dispatch centre. The new centre, located in the North Bay office, adds reliability to the system and can back up Union Gas’ other centre in London, Ontario.

      In November, Union Gas' six-year partnership with Six Nations Natural Gas wins the Ontario Aboriginal Partner Award and further reinforces Union Gas’ commitment to the communities it serves.

      2002

      March brings a change of ownership for Union Gas. Duke Energy Corporation, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, acquires all outstanding common shares of Union Gas’ parent company Westcoast Energy. Union Gas operates under Duke Energy Gas Transmission, a Duke subsidiary based in Houston, Texas, which has a history in the natural gas business almost as far back as Union Gas’ beginnings. Expansion continues this year with a new pipeline put into service between Owen Sound and Brantford. The project is significant because it requires crossing the Grand River south of Cambridge.

      2003

      Union Gas maintains service during the August blackout that cripples much of the eastern Canada and the northeast United States. The reliability of the Union Gas system does not go unnoticed and leads to increased interest as a fuel for emergency generators. Despite a strong showing from Union Gas, it’s a hard year for parent company, Duke Energy. Significant market upheaval in the unregulated power market in the US results in cancelled or deferred projects, staff reductions and a staggering fourth quarter loss of $2 Billion, the largest in Duke's history and responsible for a $1.3 Billion loss on the year.

      2004

      Union Gas’ reputation for safety and reliability combined with focused marketing attracts more than 31,000 new customers. Duke Power, another subsidiary of Union Gas’ parent company Duke Energy, celebrates its 100-year anniversary.

      2005

      By mid decade, Union Gas reaps the benefits of the ongoing expansion of its storage and transmission systems and the 1996 merger with Centra Gas, and posts total earnings of over $2Billion for the first time. Ontario native, Greg Ebel becomes president of Union Gas on his way to later becoming president of Union Gas’ parent company.

      2006

      Union Gas embarks on a major expansion of its storage and transmission facilities, constructing the F Plant at its Dawn storage hub, its first new major compressor plant in 13 years. It also constructs and puts into service two more sections of the Trafalgar pipeline system between Brooke and Strathroy and Hamilton and Milton.

      2007

      Ownership of Union Gas changes again as Duke Energy spins off its natural gas business into a new entity, Spectra Energy. Union Gas president Greg Ebel moves on to become president of Spectra Energy in 2009 and Julie Dill becomes president of Union Gas. Expansion continues this year with a new 42,000 HP compressor plant at its Parkway facility on the Milton-Mississauga border and another 18 km addition to the Trafalgar pipeline system from Strathroy to Lobo.

      2008

      There's much happening on many fronts within the company. Union Gas embarks on its most ambitious compressor station construction program in nearly two decades putting three new Rolls Royce RB211 turbine compressors in service – one at Dawn and two at the Bright facility. Combined, the units total over 120,000 HP.  The company enters into a partnership agreement to develop and place into service the 2 billion cubic foot Tipperary natural gas storage facility, south of Goderich, Ontario while in Burlington, it opens a new regional office. The Burlington facility is a state-of-the-art Gold Standard LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building that showcases the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability.

      There's a significant regulatory change this year for the industry; the Ontario Energy Board approves Incentive Regulation to determine rates for the regulated distribution, transmission and storage of natural gas. Incentive regulation establishes rates for a 3-5 year term and uses a formula to determine the rates utilities will charge in each year of the term.

      2009

      Union Gas opens two additional new Gold Standard LEED facilities in Kingston and Windsor and continues to develop its storage and transmission facilities with the addition of two new storage reservoirs. The Airport (in partnership) and Heritage pools total over 6 BCF.

      Union Gas launches EnerSmart™ Magazine this year to provide readers with reliable, informative and practical information that highlights some of ways they can help the planet and save money by using energy more efficiently.

      2010

      As it's 100th Anniversary approaches, Union Gas is named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2011. The company’s work environment, pay and benefits, and employee development are all cited as contributing factors in the rating.

      Union Gas and other members of the Ontario Regional Ground Alliance (ORCGA) designate April as the first annual Dig Safe month in Ontario. The month is dedicated to raising awareness about safe digging practices to improve safety and reduce damages to underground infrastructure including pipelines and hydro cables.

      In August, Union Gas unveils a miniature Union Gas head office building at the Chatham-Kent Children’s Safety Village. This newest addition to the Safety Village serves as an important venue for demonstrating natural gas safety in a fun, hands-on way. The contribution to the Safety Village is part of a comprehensive community investment program by Union Gas that has contributed $2.4 million to community organizations across the province in 2010.

    • For a short while, the 21st Century seems much like the 20th Century until a year later when terrorists crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre and life, as much of the world knows it, changes forever.

      2000

      Worries that the arrival of the year 2000 would be greeted by chaos from massive computer failures disappear almost as quickly as the smoke from the fireworks that usher in the new millennium around the world. Within months, athletes from 199 countries gather in Sydney Australia for the Summer Olympics and Canada’s Simon Whitfield captures a gold medal in the inaugural triathlon event. Canada wins a total of 14 medals including two more gold for wrestling and tennis. Before the Olympics end, Canadians will mourn the death of one’s of our most colourful Prime Minister’s, Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

      2001

      A plane crashes into one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Centre in New York City on September 11th and it’s soon evident the US is under attack by terrorists when the second Tower is also attacked. Another plane crashes into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and a fourth plane crashes into a field in Shanksville Pennsylvania when passengers decide to overtake the terrorist hijackers who have control of their flight. In the wake of the attacks, the US declares a War on Terror that will send troops from several countries first into Afghanistan and later Iraq.

      2002

      Born in 1900, the Queen Mother dies months short of her 102nd birthday. US President George Bush creates the Department of Homeland Security to combat terrorism and Euro becomes of the currency of twelve members of the European Union.  At the Winter Olympics, Canada’s men’s and women’s hockey teams both win gold medals with victories over the US. The men’s final is the most watched event in Olympic history.

      2003

      Claiming an imminent threat from weapons of mass destruction, the US plans to invade Iraq. The invasion begins in March with massive air strikes on Baghdad led by US and British forces in a campaign called Shock and Awe before coalition forces move in by land. In May, US President stands in front of a banner declaring Mission Accomplished, and says the major combat mission is over. As the year draws to a close, coalition forces capture Iraq’s former president, Saddam Hussein, from his hiding spot.

      2004

      Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin is among world leaders who mark the 60th Anniversary of D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy. Stephen Harper is elected head of the Conservative Party in Canada and becomes leader of the Opposition. Martha Stewart is convicted of a felony and sent to prison for five months and Janet Jackson has a famous ‘wardrobe malfunction’ during the half time show at the Super Bowl.

      2005

      Pope John Paul II dies in Rome, and 1600 people parish when Hurricane Katrina strikes Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Oil prices rise sharply in response to trouble in the Middle East and supply problems following Hurricane Katrina. Gamers are excited by the release of Microsoft’s Xbox 360. In Canada, the Civil Marriage Act makes same-sex marriage legal across Canada.

      2006

      Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada's 22nd Prime Minister on February 6, 2006. Mr. Harper was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 as the Reform Party of Canada Member of Parliament for Calgary West. In 2003, the members of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party of Canada voted to unite as the new Conservative Party of Canada, and selected Mr. Harper as their first leader.

      2007

      A student at Virginia Tech goes on a shooting spree and kills 30 people on campus. The US housing bubble bursts and a wave of foreclosures begin. The Tesla Roadster, the world’s most efficient electric car, makes its debut at car shows. Apple introduces its touch screen technology and its iPhone, and the final Harry Potter book is published.

      2008

      Increased oil prices are causing inflation and unemployment on both sides of the Atlantic and financial institutions are troubled by the rise in home foreclosures. General Motors reports it lost $38.8 billion the previous year and Honda begins selling its zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicle, the FCX Clarity. By the end of year world financial markets are in trouble and US President George Bush signs a $700 Billion bailout package to rescue the economy.

      2009

      Fear that the world is on the brink of a depression worse than the Great Depression of the 1930’s prompts governments around the world to pump trillions of dollars into the economy. Russia cuts off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine. Barak Obama is sworn in as US President and the world is shocked by the unexpected death of Michael Jackson.

      2010

      Canada welcomes the world to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and sets a record by winning 14 gold medals, most ever for a host country at a Winter Olympics. Canada’s 26-medal total is the best showing ever for Canadian athletes. Troubled economies are still cause for concern particularly in the US and Europe. Apple scores another huge success with the release of its iPad.

  • Our Company
    World Events
    • January

      On Jan. 1, Union Gas kicked off 2011 with the launch of this Centennial website, which documents our 100-year history of delivering safe, affordable and reliable natural gas to more than 400 communities across the province.

      A few days later, on Jan. 6, celebrations kicked into high gear with simultaneous employee celebrations at our Chatham head office and many of our seven district offices across the province. President Julie Dill was on hand to enjoy the party in Chatham with employees past and present.

      As January turned to February – and much of southwestern Ontario braced for what would turn out to be one of the year’s first major snowstorms – we added the first decade of a historical timeline and a virtual museum to our website, giving visitors the chance to get an inside look at Union Gas through the ages, without having to leave the comfort of home!

      We bid farewell to February with an announcement guaranteed to take the chill off the blustery month: As part of our Centennial celebration, we would be giving 100 special grants of $1,000 to non-profit community organizations across the province that focused on the environment, community safety, and education. The applications began rolling in.

      March

      Others were celebrating our 100th anniversary too. On the evening of March 24, friends, employees, retirees and dignitaries gathered at the Chatham-Kent Museum to officially open a new exhibit honouring our Centennial. Dill was on hand to give the museum a special thank you for pulling together this retrospective. And our Union Gas librarian and in-house historian Jane Parry made an appearance as well!

      Parry has been an instrumental part of our Centennial planning committee, even helping to locate, dust off and display antique gas stoves and other memorabilia in our Chatham headquarters and district offices as a visible reminder of the long history of natural gas in Ontario.

      Over the course of our Centennial year, Parry and other employees have given several special tours of the memorabilia at our Chatham head office for our retirees and other members of the public. A group from St. Andrew’s United Church, The Golden Genies retirees and Take Our Kids to Work students were among those shown around the building by employee volunteer "tour guides".

      April

      In spring, our thoughts turned in earnest to what special ways we could give back to the communities that have helped us create a century of success.

      In April, we held a Centennial Earth Week Challenge across the company, where employees did everything from organizing a clothing and household good donation in our London/Sarnia district, to creating an Earth Day themed mural in our Brantford office.

      May

      And on May 1, we kicked off a very special Centennial challenge.

      Every year, our employees and retirees roll up their sleeves and donate thousands of hours to complete projects for community organizations across the province through a special employee volunteer program we call Helping Hands in Action.

      Volunteers do everything from planting trees, installing safety coat hooks in classrooms, painting and refurbishing office areas and more. And employees can receive project funding through our Community Improvement Grant program.

      This May, the goal was special: To complete 100 projects in 100 days. And Union Gas volunteers set to the task with the strong community spirit for which they are justly known.

      To cap off a spring of giving, we chose the recipients of our 100 Centennial Community grants, which included community and non-profit groups from Kingston to Thunder Bay to Windsor.

      June

      June came like a flash, bringing with it warmer weather and the news – announced at a Centennial celebration at our London district office – that the first of 10 Signature Centennial grants of $10,000 was being awarded to the Trees Ontario Foundation to help plant 3,333 trees in the London and Sarnia areas.

      And one day before the first official day of summer – June 20 – we made a major Centennial announcement: A $100,000 Signature Grant to the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority to fund new biodiversity education, conservation and restoration programs and an expanded community trees initiative.

      The conservation authority serves 10 member municipalities, including West Elgin, Southwold and Chatham-Kent, which has been home base for Union Gas for almost all of the past century.

      Bill Esrey, chairman of our parent company Spectra Energy’s board of directors, presented the grant to conservation authority chair Brian King at a Centennial reception at the Chatham Armoury Banquet Conference Centre.

       

      Other members of the Spectra Energy board and Greg Ebel, Spectra Energy's president and CEO, joined Esrey, Dill, Union Gas employees, retirees, government officials, community leaders and other community partners at the reception as well.

       

      We rounded out June with two more Centennial celebrations at our district offices in Thunder Bay and Waterloo – and two more Signature grants to support a green roof program and an environmental education program.

      And just to add a little extra fun to the mix – we marked Blue and White Day in all our offices across the province in June, as well as hosting a special Centennial barbeque for our more than 800 Chatham employees at our head office on Keil Drive.

       

      July

      Summer was in full bloom in late July, when our district office in Burlington held its Centennial celebration. A highlight of that event was the presentation of a Signature grant to Royal Botanical Gardens, recognized as a leader in sustainable gardening, ecological restoration and plant preservation.

      August

      In the first week of August, we celebrated the great news that not only had we met the Helping Hands in Action challenge we had set for ourselves, we surpassed it, completing 111 projects in 100 days. Our year-to-date total has since hit 158.

      In late August, we marked "back to school" with a Signature grant to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation to support its Nature in Education program, a hands-on study course that helps students learn about habitats, water and wildlife using environmental science-based studies. The announcement was made at the Centennial celebration at our Windsor office, where employees also had some fun dressing up to represent different decades.

      September

      And we continued to hit the books in September.

      Hot off the presses came our own Union Gas – 100 Years of Energy, a commemorative Centennial book that all employees, retirees and contractors at Union Gas received as a special keepsake.

      While our Centennial book looked back into our past, our next Signature grant looked forward to the future.

      In late September, we awarded a $10,000 grant to the University of Waterloo's Institute for Sustainable Energy for a research project to expand the concept of a "smart grid" beyond electricity.

      We welcomed a number of our Centennial Community grant recipients to the celebration at our district office in North Bay on Sept. 23.

      And we rounded out the month as we started it, by celebrating two Signature grants with decidedly educational bents.

      At the Walpole Island Fall Fair, Union Gas was recognized for our grant to the Bkejwanong Eco-Keepers (BEK) program, which gives First Nations students the chance to work with environmental researchers in their own community on the island on the north shore of Lake St. Clair.

      And under the watchful eyes of a Grade 3/4 class at Dawn-Euphemia School, Dill and Dave Simpson, director of storage and transmission operations for Union Gas, presented a $10,000 grant to the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority for its 2012 Spring Water Awareness Program, which will teach elementary school students about the dangers of the spring thaw.

      October

      We began October with the exciting news we had been named to the top of the class, making the list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the second year running – the perfect icing on our Centennial cake.

      And we turned back to nature once again, with Centennials grants to support a 100,000 Tree Campaign in the Sudbury area, a new forest trail in Timmins and two water conservation programs in eastern Ontario.

      On Oct. 29, Union Gas employees and their families brought their garden gloves, shovels and their community spirit to a Centennial tree planting event in partnership with our $100,000 grant recipient, the Lower Thames Conservation Authority.

      Under a bright autumn sky, volunteers helped to plant 100 coniferous trees that will form a windbreak for future plantings at the Merlin Conservation Area in Chatham-Kent, once again demonstrating an outstanding commitment to give back to the communities we serve.

      November

      As November draws to a close, we’re looking to our official birthdate – Dec. 19 – with bittersweet excitement. It’s been a busy year, full of company and community spirit. Check in again to see just how we celebrated our big day, and what’s in store for our next 100 years!

    • For a short while, the 21st Century seems much like the 20th Century until a year later when terrorists crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre and life, as much of the world knows it, changes forever.

      January

      The so-called Arab Spring begins January 14th when the Tunisian government falls after a month of protests and Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. Soon other Arab nations are facing their own protests. In Canada, Hydro Quebec registers record electricity consumption at 7.15 a.m. on January 24th at the height of a cold snap.

      February

      Protests force the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as the Arab Spring gains momentum. Crude oil prices jump by 20 per cent in a two-week period that begins February 22 over concerns about the reliability of Libyan oil output. The 2011 Energy Crisis is now underway with a predictable impact of world economies.

      March

      Japan is devastated by a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and following tsunami. Fifty countries and territories issue tsunami warnings in the aftermath and emergencies are declared at four nuclear power plants in Japan. World economies take another hit as Japanese manufacturers suspend much of their operations, which has global impact.

      April

      A royal wedding gives the world something to cheer about in 2011. An estimated two billion people worldwide watch Prince William wed the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29th.

      May

      A convert American military operation on a compound in Pakistan kills Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden as the month begins. Stephen Harper wins a majority and re-election as Prime Minister of Canada a day later. By mid month, the European Union agrees to a €78 billion rescue deal for Portugal in what will become a series of necessary interventions to debt-ridden countries verging on economic collapse. In Canada, wild fires force the evacuation of seven thousand people from their homes in Slave Lake Alberta.

      June

      Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup with a game seven win over Vancouver Canucks, setting off the June 15 Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver. As the month ends, “the newlyweds” come to Canada. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge attract worldwide attention when they arrive in Ottawa June 30th on their first official royal tour.

      July

      An era ends on July 21st when the Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at the Kennedy Space Centre, thus ending NASA’s space shuttle program. On the same day, a heat wave across Eastern Canada reaches its peak with temperatures reaching as high as 37.1 degrees Celsius and a humidex of 51 degrees Celsius in Toronto.

      August

      The Arab Spring is still underway and Libya is in civil war. In the Battle of Tripoli at the end of the month, the capital falls to the insurgents and overthrows the government of Muammar Gaddafi. In Canada, Opposition Leader Jack Layton is accorded a state funeral after his death from cancer.

      September

      Worldwide memorial ceremonies are held to mark the tenth anniversary of the 911 attacks on the World Trade Centre Twin Towers in New York. In this difficult economic year the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, makes a sobering announcement on September 14th warning that the world economy has entered the "danger zone", with the United States, European Union and Japan having to make tough decisions about their economic future.

      October

      The Libyan civil war comes to an end with the death of Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte and the National Transitional Forces takes control. At an emergency meeting held in Brussels the European Union reaches an agreement to tackle the European debt crisis including a write-down of Greek bonds, recapitalization of European banks and an increase of the bailout fund totaling €1 trillion.

      November

      Scandal-prone Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resigns after more than two decades in power amid growing concern over Italy’s debt problems. The Italian government passes austerity measures in an effort to ease the financial crisis. After ten months recovering from a concussion, Sidney Crosby makes a triumphant return to the NHL. He’s also sporting a mustache like the many fathers, sons, boyfriends, spouses and brothers participating in Movember by growing a mustache to raise money for prostate cancer research.

      December

      Retailers have fingers crossed that holiday shoppers will lift struggling world economies, boost employment and bring a happy end to what has been a difficult year in many parts of the world.