On-Site Magazine

A CENTURY OF SUCCESS – Celebrating Black & McDonald’s 100-Year Legacy

By Black & McDonald   


From its origin in 1921 as a Toronto-based electrical contractor, Black & McDonald has evolved into a multi-trade service provider with 30+ offices operating throughout North America. Built on the founding principles to “Do Things Right” and “Deliver Lasting Value,” the family owned company now completes over $1.5 billion in sales per year and employs more than 5,000 people from coast to coast.

Reaching the 100-year mark is a great achievement for any business, and for Black & McDonald, it is a testament to the people, partnerships and meaningful moments that continue to shape its legacy — one that began as a two-man operation in 1921 when founding partners William R. Black and William J. McDonald launched their electrical wiring service.

“So many people have contributed to make this achievement possible,” said Ian McDonald, Co-President & CEO. “For the past 100 years, the support from our employee group, our client base, our suppliers, and the communities in which we operate, has been incredible. We are very appreciative of this support and we will strive to continue to be worthy of it going forward.”

Rapid growth through the decades


For two decades, World War I veterans William R. Black and William J. (W.J.) McDonald enjoyed success together as electrical contractors serving small businesses and households in the Toronto area. When Black passed away in 1946, W.J. took over sole proprietorship and was later joined by his sons, John and Bill, in the 1950s. By the early 70s, Black & McDonald had grown out of its humble roots into a national network of Canadian offices offering a range of services that included electrical and mechanical contracting, sheet metal fabrication, HVAC and refrigeration maintenance and repair, and utility contracting. This expansion continued through the 80s with the addition of design engineering and facility management and operations capabilities. By the mid- 90s, Black & McDonald had entered the U.S. market with utility construction and asset management services.

Today, the multi-trade company fulfils all building lifecycle needs and holds facility management contracts for multiple operations, including hospitals, museums, airports, industrial plants, office complexes and military bases. Led by third generation family members Ian and Bruce McDonald, it continues to adhere to the same core values that steered it so successfully in the beginning: to provide a quality service at a fair price and to treat people respectfully.

Looking ahead, Black & McDonald envisions a continued path of planned growth and profitability guided by a promise to put customer satisfaction and quality first; to remain true to its longstanding code of business while honouring a commitment to health, safety and environmental responsibility into the next century and beyond.

Success driven by adaptability, innovation and staying true to its founding principles

Black & McDonald has experienced continued change in its 100-year history, surviving the Great Depression, WWII, several recessions, and now a pandemic. The ability to adapt quickly, develop new services effectively, and remain on the cusp of new technology has been central to its success. Today, Black & McDonald proudly offers multiple products and services in the following core areas:

  • Electrical and Mechanical construction services Black & McDonald provides turnkey solutions for a wide range of applications including commercial buildings, institutional facilities, airports, mission critical data centres, hospitals, pharmaceutical, transit & transportation, water & wastewater treatment, oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, utilities, power generation and renewable energy across North America.


  • Utility Construction – Serving both private and public sector clients, Black&McDonald has extensive experience in substation design, construction, retrofit, repair and maintenance, including testing and commissioning. We provide construction services for overhead and underground transmission systems, fibre optic cabling, construction of stations, municipal installations, and their related civil construction.


  • Facility Services Black & McDonald has extensive experience in operating and maintaining a diverse portfolio of facilities across both the public and private sectors. B&M’s experience covers a varied cross-section of facility types, including commercial offices, healthcare environments, major transportation hubs and airports, cultural facilities, life sciences laboratories, municipal government properties, educational institutions, data centres, utilities infrastructure, and major manufacturing and distribution plants.

For more information on how Black & McDonald can serve you, please visit: www.blackandmcdonald.com.




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