ATCO Structures: Building and Construction
If you live in Canada, the chances are great that you have seen an ATCO trailer at a construction site. These trailers are white with yellow and black trim, and are used to house workers or provide on-site office space.
ATCO Structures started as a small family business during the Alberta oil boom of the late 1940s and 1950s. Eventually, it expanded into a worldwide organization of companies engaged in utilities, power, industrial technologies, and energy services.
Ron Southern started the company with his father in 1947. At first they operated out of Calgary, Alberta renting 15 utility trailers under the company name Alberta Trailer Hire (now known as ATCO Structures). In 1953, the company built a manufacturing plant near Edmonton, and after a 1955 fire destroyed the plant, manufacturing was shifted to a site near Airdrie. Sales of the company’s manufactured homes steadily grew, especially as air defense stations and resource developments in the Arctic regions of North America spurred demand for pre-built housing that could be installed without basements (the ground in the Arctic is frozen year round).
By the end of the 1960s, the company moved from Airdrie to a fifty-four acre site in Southwest Calgary that was named the ATCO Industrial Park. The company also expanded internationally with manufacturing plants built in Montreal, Australia, and the United States. Another oil boom in the 1970s helped the company grow even more, as they built trailer cities (called camps) in order to house the workers on the TransAlaska pipeline project.
ATCO gained more international exposure in 1988. This was the year that Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, and ATCO trailers were used to house all athletes, officials, media and organizers. Following the Games, the 500 trailers used to accommodate the media and Olympic family, which had been purchased by the Government of Canada (200) and the Province of Alberta (300), were relocated throughout Western Canada for student housing (Mount Royal College – 150), senior citizens, and other housing needs. This ATCO solution ensured there was no surplus housing from the Olympic Games in Calgary. ATCO trailers were also used at the Expo ’86 World Fair in Vancouver.
For more information about ATCO Modular Housing please click the following link: ATCO Modular Housing structures
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