Tolko is a family run, privately owned, Canadian company diversified by geography and product. Tolko manufactures lumber, plywood and veneer, oriented strand board, co-products, biomass power, and a growing number of specialty wood products. Founded in 1956, Tolko today directly employs over 3000 people in 17 operations across Western Canada and delivers products to more than 30 countries around the world.
Tolko was founded in 1956 by Harold Thorlakson as Lavington Planer Mill. This operation – which sat on the site of today’s Lavington Planer Division – would eventually be known as Tolko Industries Ltd.
Harold bought rough lumber from portable sawmill owners operating in the interior forests, planed it, and sold the finished product to a growing list of customers throughout the Okanagan Valley. Harold carefully selected his raw material, steadily growing his business on quality and service. He received a major boost when he secured a contract to supply the timbers and lumber for the construction of the Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge. The bridge, nearly a mile long on the south side of Kelowna, BC, officially opened in 1958.
Harold purchased a planer from Hoover Sawmills Limited in 1959. Lavington Planer Mill started its own manufacturing shortly after and was incorporated August 21, 1961. A permanent sawmill was established in 1968. In 1973 the Company name changed from Lavington Planer Mill Ltd. to Tolko Industries Ltd., a name derived from every other letter of the Thorlakson family name.
Harold turned the company over to his sons Al and John in the 70’s, after which, Al and John started building the company up through the purchase of other operations:
1981 – Tolko purchased Ernst Forest Products in Quesnel, BC. Tolko invested in manufacturing improvements, changed the Division’s name to Quest Wood Products, and established a modernized mill that continues to evolve and perform efficiently to this day.
1987 – Purchased Balco Industries. The acquisition included the Nicola Valley and Louis Creek sawmill operations, and the Heffley Creek plywood plant, launching Tolko into the plywood business.
1994 – Product and geographic diversification became fundamental to Tolko’s strategic direction. To fulfill this initiative, Tolko secured an innovative fibre supply agreement and received approval to construct an OSB mill in High Prairie, Alberta – Tolko’s first greenfield, “built from scratch” operation.
1997 – Tolko pursued further diversification with a move into kraft paper with the purchase of Repap Manitoba in The Pas. The acquisition included a sawmill and a pulp and paper mill.
1999 – Purchased DMI’s High Level, Alberta operation and changed the Division’s name to High Level Lumber Division.
2001 – Tolko embarked on the second greenfield operation with the construction of Meadow Lake OSB, in Meadow Lake Saskatchewan.
2004 – Tolko acquired Riverside Forest Products, which included 7 operations throughout BC including: Armstrong, White Valley, Lake Country, Kelowna, Soda Creek, Lakeview and Creekside. This acquisition doubled the Company’s size.
2004 – Tolko purchased Weyerhaeuser’s Slave Lake OSB Division in Athabasca, Alberta.
2005 – As the third greenfield operation, Tolko constructed the Athabasca OSB Division in Slave Lake, Alberta.
2007 – Tolko won the Energy Conservation Leadership Award (CIPEC) and the BC Export Award for Primary Products and Resources.
2008 – Tolko’s new Head Office opened in Vernon, BC.
2010 – Brad Thorlakson took over as President and CEO, marking the third generation of the family to run the Company. Tolko also signed the first mill supply agreements with China in 2010.
2012 – Tolko won the BC Export Award in the Natural Resources Category.
2014 – Tolko reopened the Athabasca OSB division in Slave Lake, Alberta.
When you join Tolko, you are signing on with an industry leader in world markets that has built success through three generations with over 3000 employees and growing. Our structure and culture encourage innovation, growth, and change in an open environment.
Our tradition of excellence is built on strong company values, a challenging environment, and continuous development. To explore current career opportunities and become a part of our community, apply online today at www.tolko.com.
Woodlands : includes also Forest Management
Panels and board : includes Edge-glued panels, Finger-joined lumber, Medium-density fibreboard, Oriented strand board, Particleboard, Plywood, Wood-cement composites, and Wood-plastic composites
Other Forest Products : e.g. lignin, cellulose filaments, nanocrystalline cellulose, wood-derived bioethanol, etc.