Growing through diversity
North Bay producer servicing variety of needs in community
By Andrew Snook
February 12, 2018 – Ken Sim has been working the land his entire adult life. In 2000, at 18 years of age, he started up a landscaping business in North Bay, Ont., which he ran successfully as his sole focus up until 2009 when he decided to change his scope and get into the aggregate business.
In 2009 Sim purchased Canor Construction, a contracting firm that had been servicing the North Bay area since 1979.
“When I was landscaping, we purchased all of our material from Canor,” Sim, the president of Canor Construction, recalls during an interview at one of his company’s sand pits in North Bay.
After Sim’s acquisition of the firm it grew leaps and bounds, almost quadrupling in size since the purchase – impressive growth from the 35-year-old entrepreneur.
“We’ve been going strong ever since,” says Sim,
Canor Construction owns a total of four pits and one quarry in the North Bay area.
The company produces an average of about 50,000 tons annually, but has produced upwards of 90,000 tons in its busiest years.
It typically produces somewhere between 20 to 25 different products each year, including granular A, granular B, granular B2 and granular B3; gabion stone; pickled sand; river rock 1”-4”; river rock 4”-12”; stone dust; topsoil; filter sand; clear stone 1/4, 3/4, 7/8; quarry 3/4, 5/8; recycled asphalt; sand fill; and screened sand.
“It’s nice to own a product that never goes bad,” Sim says. “You can have 100,000 tons one year, and if you don’t sell it, you’ve still got 100,000 tons next year.”
In addition to supplying aggregates from its pits and quarries to local contractors, Canor Construction supplies waste services; water and sewer services; and is one of the largest snow removal companies in the North Bay area.
The company is also a demolition expert, primarily engaged in excavation work and digging foundations. Canor Construction also offers services in labour relations consulting, health and safety compliance consulting, equipment rentals, and various roll-off containers.
“Maintaining a diverse company model allows Canor to employ its staff year-round,” says Ken Tregenza, operations manager for Canor Construction. “This allows the skilled staff to stay with Canor year-over-year and prevents our knowledge base from moving away. Furthermore, our diverse operational model allows us to move into a number of different construction jobs and perform all the required components. From the initial excavation, water and sewer lines, bringing the site to engineered grade, installing the curbs, bollards, retaining walls, interlocking brick, paving, and right up to installing the sod and planting the gardens. And throughout the whole process our waste containers and waste removal staff keep the jobsite clean and compliant with Ministry [of Ontario] requirements. We maintain operational staff and supervision for every aspect of the job while holding ourselves to the highest of standards.”
Canor Construction typically employs about 50 people in the summertime – 80 during peak season in the wintertime, when the company’s snow removal operations are going strong. Its workforce is comprised of qualified and experienced quality control personnel, heavy equipment operators, project coordinators, AZ-DZ truck drivers, mechanical personnel, health and safety officers and administrative personnel.
When it comes to inventory management, Canor uses a simple Phantom 3 drone to fly his quarries and pits to help direct staff to stockpile locations, as well as future spots for clearings and blasting.
The Canor Construction fleet also has a variety of big iron at its disposal, largely comprised of John Deere and Caterpillar machinery, including 12 wheel loaders, five excavators and two dozers; a fleet of trailers; as well as a Powerscreen 1600 Chieftain and a Powerscreen Warrior 1800 Series for crushing and screening.
Canor Construction’s motto on its website reads, “We are proud of our success and will keep striving for a stronger
With the way Ken Sim has positioned his company for success, one can only expect a stronger future will indeed be in the cards for Canor Construction going forward.