The Ainsworth Story:
a resourceful family builds a world leader
The Ainsworth saga began humbly. In 1952, David Ainsworth and his brother Tom moved to BC’s Cariboo country, bringing a sawmill with them—a small one, that could be towed behind a tractor or truck. They set up in the forests of Williams Lake, then Clinton, and finally settled in 100 Mile House. Along with the brothers and David’s wife Susan, the company boasted three employees. They lived and worked in tents, moving into portable cabins as the business grew.
Today, Ainsworth employs over 850 people and operates four manufacturing facilities across Canada. The Ainsworth family has not been actively involved in the company since 2008, when the financial groups that had supplied the capital required for our growth over the last decade took a majority ownership position, and the company transitioned from a family run enterprise. With solid financial backing, Ainsworth will continue to expand our product lines and invest in innovative technologies to continue our story for decades to come.
Products carrying our signature AinsworthEngineered® brand are trusted across North America and are increasingly popular in Japan. After more than half a century, 100 Mile House is still a center of activity, and the home of one of our most advanced OSB operations.
Early in our history, David Ainsworth made the strategic decision not to rely on large, old growth timber such as Douglas fir, and instead chose to utilize fast-growing, small-diameter lodgepole pine. This put him at odds with much of the prevailing opinion of the day, which doubted the viability of the smaller trees, considered a “weed” species by some. They feared the wood would warp and twist. They thought it would be impractical to work with the smaller logs—that they would be labor intensive to handle and weigh.
David saw things differently. He understood that old growth timber was a finite resource that would only diminish over time. He felt that the future was in fast-growing, renewable wood, and he went ahead with the decision to use lodgepole pine for Ainsworth lumber.
To allay any quality concerns, he installed kilns to ensure that the wood was fully dried, and established a quality-first approach to planing, trimming and packaging. To improve handling, he introduced western BC’s first weigh scales for managing truckloads of small-diameter lumber.
It took years for the rest of the market to realize the environmental advantages of fast-growing, renewable forest resources. David Ainsworth’s innovations and foresight set the tone for the company. AinsworthEngineered wood products are manufactured from a number of fast-growing, renewable woods, and also from pine-beetle killed trees that would otherwise be wasted. Our wood resources are harvested from sustainably managed North American forests, and manufactured with virtually no waste. We are a strong supporter of “green” construction practices, and as a company, we are committed to sustainability in every aspect of our operations.
The Ainsworth company remained in Ainsworth family hands for generations, as David’s children and grandchildren led the company through decades of growth and engineering advancements. Today, although Ainsworth is no longer a family owned enterprise, the spirit of David Ainsworth remains in a Canadian forest products company with a reputation for reliability, stability and unsurpassed customer service to vendors, builders, architects and homeowners.
AinsworthEngineered. People who’ve used it, trust it.
The Ainsworth Timeline