On-Site Magazine

Take a road trip through the history of Ontario’s roadways

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June 15, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

ORBA's new 432-page illustrated history of road building in Ontario is now available
ORBA's new 432-page illustrated history of road building in Ontario is now available

Take a ride with Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) and discover the exciting history behind the province’s roadways in the new book, “Keeping Ontario Moving, The History of Roads and Road Building in Ontario”.

The historical content includes virtually every facet of the road building industry in Ontario, from labour relations to safety, politics to financing. The early story of roads and road building is recorded from many reference materials, but from the 1930s forward, it is told largely by the people who lived and created Ontario’s roadbuilding history.

Over 120 contractors, engineers, government officials and others were interviewed and the last 80 years of the industry’s past unfolds in the way they remember it. They share their memories and stories as they talk about their projects, their businesses, their successes and hardships.

“The book documents the history and evolution of our industry from its beginnings right through to where we are today. It is written in a unique way with stories from industry legends of today and ‘yester-year’,” says Geoff Wilkinson, ORBA Executive Director. “Anyone that picks it up and starts to read it will not want to put it down and more than likely will want a copy of their own. It is that good.”

Rob Bradford, who took on authoring the project after retiring as ORBA’s Executive Director in 2012, commented, “The challenge was to produce something interesting to the layman and to the seasoned road builder. I think we’ve found the right balance that offers a good reference source as well as a good read.”

The concept for the book is credited to ORBA Past President Les Cruickshank (1992) who worked diligently alongside a committed committee to see this idea through to its final publication this past spring.

“In the beginning, the idea was to interview ‘old-timers’ to get their stories, collect old photos and documents and then publish a book starting with the beginning of transportation in Ontario,” explained Cruickshank.

The 432-page, beautifully illustrated, hard cover book is available for purchase online here.

ORBA supports and promotes the growth of Ontario’s transportation infrastructure industry. As the voice of over 200 road building contractors and suppliers, ORBA members build and maintain Ontario’s provincial highway system, municipal roads, bridges and other public transportation infrastructure, employing over 30,000 workers. Visit orba.org for more information.


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