A Relic of Port Hope Harbour

The Standard Ideal Company started up in 1903, later became the Port Hope Sanitary Manufacturing Company and finally the name best known to most locals as Crane operated in Port Hope until 1967. What is left of this historical manufacturing plant is slated for removal in the near future for the cleanup of the low-level radioactive waste found throughout the harbour lands.

The Standard Ideal Company Limited on Port Hope’s harbour land manufactured the ‘Ideal’ lines of cast iron porcelain-enameled sanitary ware such as bathtubs, shower baths, lavatories, kitchen sinks, slop hoppers, laundry tubs, urinals and closet ranges, steamship and railway car supplies, hospital appliances and factory wash sinks.  Remember the famous ‘Urinor’ the enameled cast iron trough urinal? The last time I saw/used one of these was in a washroom at the local fair grounds! “Confident that it possesses one of the finest plants for the manufacturing of the lines mentioned in the Dominion, it is the largest exclusive cast-iron enameling sanitary works under the British flag. The general offices and factories are located in Port Hope Ontario. Telephones 49 – 81. Branch offices are maintained at Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, London England, South Africa and Australia.”   The Port Hope Harbor Journal, 1907

Hiram Bush, formerly of the Ideal Manufacturing Company in Detroit, manufacturers of sanitary products established Standard Ideal, Canada in Port Hope, Ontario, 1903. By 1911, the company had grown to 15 acres on Port Hope’s centre pier and was the town’s largest employer with a workforce of 600 men. In 1916, the company defaulted on a 1911 mortgage and was forced into bankruptcy. Sold at auction later that year it was reorganized as the Port Hope Sanitary Manufacturing Company.

By 1930, the Port Hope Sanitary Company was acquired by Crane Limited, a Canadian subsidiary of the U.S. firm founded by Richard Teller Crane in 1855. The newest Crane warehouse in Port Hope was constructed in 1958. Crane also established AllianceWare in Vancouver, specializing in porcelain-steel plumbing fixtures and steel signs. A new enameled-steel plant was opened in Stratford Ontario in 1961.     By midcentury, most of the world’s porcelain products were being replaced by enameled cast iron which likely spelled the end for the Crane Port Hope plant in 1967. Much of the plant was demolished in 1971 and other parts of the building used as storage for low- level radioactive waste were demolished in the 1990’s. Today, what is left of the building is surrounded by huge tarp covered mounds of low level radioactive waste awaiting disposal at the Long-Term Waste Management Facility. Crane today is known as the American Standards Brand and has a pottery plant in Trenton and an acrylic plant in Stratford Ontario.

A plan in Port Hope to save some of these historical industrial buildings has failed. The largest environmental remediation efforts and the first of its kind in Canada is now underway. The town of Port Hope, the owners of the land and buildings has leased the entire site to Eldorado Nuclear and subsequently Cameco Corp.

Regards, Ranger.

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