History of Union Carbide Site at 65 Canal Bank Road, Welland, ON

The 65 Canal Bank Road Regen property in Welland Ontario is 78.36 ha with an on-site landfill of 19.3 ha which was used for disposal of off-spec manufacturing material as well as construction and demolition materials from over 90 years of operation at the site.

The Union Carbide plant in Welland was established in 1907 with a single electric furnace, producing ferrosilicon for the steel industry, on the east side of the Welland Canal1.

In 19142 it was established as a branch plant of New York Union Carbide to manufacture calcium carbide.

Union Carbide bought Electro Metals in 1916, located just south of the original plant.

Linde Air Products, a division of Union Carbide (Canada) Limited opened in 1925 to produce oxygen and acetylene.

In 1929, Union Carbide acquired Acheson Graphite in Niagara Falls and moved it to Welland, where it started to make graphite electrodes.

The Acheson process for making synthetic graphite was patented in 1896 by the US inventor Edward Goodrich Acheson (1856–1931). The Union Carbide plant utilized the Acheson Method to produce some of the highest quality synthetic graphite in the world, using hydroelectric power from nearby Niagara Falls.

By 1940, the Electro Metals division operated twenty furnaces. Thirteen were closed by 1954 because of the diversification into carbon and graphite, which then became the major operations of the plant.

The remaining furnaces were gradually closed in the 1970s, due to concerns over pollution.

The carbon and graphite plants manufactured electrodes which were used at the Union Carbide electric arc furnaces in Beauharnois and Chicoutimi, Quebec, as well as for furnaces of major steel and iron producers.

The Union Carbide facility in Welland was Canada’s largest producer of carbon and graphite products. Besides the steel industry, it supplied aluminum producers with carbon cathode blocks to line the reduction pots in which the aluminum smelting process took place. UCAR also supplied chemical manufacturers with carbon lytic anodes used in the electrolytic production of chlorine and caustic3.

In 1991, Union Carbide moved its headquarters to Welland, along with 400 jobs. The electrodes, carbon electrodes and carbon cathode blocks produced at Union Carbide were distributed throughout North America and the world.

Union Carbide was restructured in 1997, deciding to divest or joint venture its graphite specialties business since they were not in alignment with the company's new strategic direction.

The Welland facility was purchased by Graftech and was subsequently closed in 1999 as part of a consolidation process.

In 2015, Graftech was purchased by Brookfield Asset Management. King and Benton purchased the site from Brookfield in 2017.

  1. Union Carbide Canada Limited – A Part of Canada – a part of tomorrow. Accessed at https://digital.library.mcgill.ca/hrcorpreports/pdfs/6/632844.pdf 28 August, 2021
  2. Day, Sujata; WELLAND: A FORMER INDUSTRIAL POWER HOUSE GUIDED TOUR https://canadians.org/analysis/welland-former-industrial-power-house-guided-tour Accessed 28 Aug 2021
  3. Union Carbide Canada Limited – A Part of Canada – a part of tomorrow. Accessed at https://digital.library.mcgill.ca/hrcorpreports/pdfs/6/632844.pdf 28 August, 2021