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Experience you can trust since 1898

About Us

Experience you can Trust – for over 100 years

With a rich history providing Lumber and Building Supplies to the Ottawa/Gatineau region, Bytown Lumber is known for its array of building materials and professional building services.

History

It was in 1898 that Theotime Bonhomme, with the support of friends, founded the Compagnie Industrielle de Papineauville and commenced sawmill operations in the region. Over the next 30 years, he initiated a broad variety of business ventures including hydroelectric dams, mining rights, a flour mill, and even a dairy which became renowned for its butter.

By 1935, with most of the timber limits being granted to the paper mills of the region, the company began to focus its activities on retailing prepared lumber and building materials – a precursor to today’s enterprise. Sales in the first year were brisk, amounting to $6,000. Interestingly, the milk and flour routes proved quite useful in promoting the new lumber yard. While making deliveries, employees would tell customers about new building materials such as plywood, building paper, and western lumber.

By the late 1940s, the company had opened its first lumber yard in the Gatineau region under the name Gatineau Lumber, and by the mid fifties the first Bytown Lumber yard took root in Ottawa, on Cyrville Road. The expansion continued with a Bonhomme store in the Hull area in the early sixties. By 1972, the many distinct lumber yards and operations, each bearing different names, were merged under a new charter and P. Bonhomme Enterprises was born, with distinct brands in both Ontario (Bytown Lumber) and Quebec (Materiaux Bonhomme).

Over the last decade, new stores have been added in Carleton Place and  Limoges, and the company has invested heavily in the creation of new specialty divisions including Residential Installation Services, Masonry and Landscaping, Interior Door Manufacturing and Millwork, Fencing, Project Estimating and DIY Building Kits. The latest addition to our family is Total Fence – a company that specializes in commercial and residential fencing.

With the influx of big box stores, our enterprise has been able to carve itself an important niche in the building materials industry by creating retail points of sale that are more compact, consumer friendly, and that provide very high subject matter expertise to both contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike. The shopping experience is highly personalized, and skilled staff are compelled to spend the time it takes to help you make the right decisions and extract the most value. Our specialty divisions are staffed by subject matter experts and are empowered, as distinct operating entities, to provide you with focus and an attention to detail that is often lacking in today’s shopping experience.

From its modest beginning more than 110 years ago, our enterprise has evolved to operate 10 stores and a wide variety of specialty divisions. Through four generations, the Bonhomme family’s recipe for success has always remained the same: win the trust of the customer with hard work and honesty, and your business will prosper.

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