In 1910, Air Liquide sent R.J. Lévy to Canada to set up operations there. He evaluated the potential and purchased land in the eastern outskirts of Montreal on the corner of Viau and Rouen streets. Our plants are still located there today.
By the spring of 1911, the first oxygen plant in Canada began production. That first year, Air Liquide Canada sold 529,000 cubic feet of oxygen from its Montreal plant; by 1913, that amount had increased to 4 million cubic feet. That same year, the company opened a second oxygen plant in Toronto, followed by the first acetylene plant just two years later.
Within another five years, Air Liquide Canada had built six more plants all across the country, from Halifax to Vancouver. Unfortunately, R.J. Lévy would not live to see the fruits of his pioneering: he lost his life in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
The company was also at the forefront of welding technology. Several key steps were made during the 1920’s: Air Liquide Canada began to manufacture flux-coated electrodes – the first enterprise to do so in North-America – and promoted bronze welding for the repair of cast iron. The company offered free welding instructions at all branches and published "The Welding Review" for its customers.
The next decade saw Air Liquide Canada introducing an entirely new concept in gas distribution: delivery to the customer by pipeline. During World War II, Air Liquide Canada underwent a new expansion phase. Canada produced ships, tanks, guns, and airplanes. Welding and cutting techniques were adapted to large-scale production.
Complete oxygen plants were also needed in war-torn countries. The company built and shipped some 40 plants overseas during the war for the Canadian Department of Munitions and Supply, using Air Liquide design drawings that a company manager was able to smuggle out after the fall of France in 1940.
In the 40s, the company opened Canada’s first welding and gas applications research laboratory, as well as a state-of-the-art welding electrode plant, and the world’s largest oxygen plant.
This new generation oxygen plant was designed and built by the Engineering and Construction Group established in Montreal by Air Liquide in 1947. Air Liquide Process & Construction Inc., as it is known, has become one of the largest builders of cryogenic plants in North America.
In the ‘60s, the company entered the bulk carbon dioxide business and added krypton, neon, xenon, and specialty gases to its product line. A plant was built in Boucherville, Québec, to produce wire for semi-automatic and automatic welding. Over the next ten years, a coast-to-coast distributor network developed.
Since then, Air Liquide Canada has continued as the country’s leading gas and welding supplier. It has always been at the cutting edge of the industry, as a pacesetter in delivering quality gas and welding products, as well as designing leading-edge gas applications and welding technologies.
In 1997, Air Liquide Canada won first prize at the Air Liquide World Innovation Forum with the CAP AUDIT program. The CAP AUDIT program helps customers to rationalize their operations and maximize the productivity of their welding operations, while reducing their overall costs.
Technology has evolved a great deal since the invention of the "Procédé Georges Claude." Introduced in 1999, ALTOP revolutionized the welding industry. It is the first industrial cylinder with a fully integrated valve and regulator, which provide instant gas flow at the desired pressure.
Air Liquide Canada’s constant quest for new solutions and better tools to helps its customers compete better and more effectively, combined with its customer-driven approach to business, have kept the company at the forefront of technology. It is this dedication to excellence that has made Air Liquide Canada the industry leader with a reputation that remains unsurpassed.
There are over 600 points of sale for the company across Canada, and a network of integrated distributors to serve its customers.