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