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The History of the Clover Leaf

Clover Leaf can trace its roots as far back as 1871 when the very first and only cannery on the Fraser River in British Columbia was operating.

Since then, Clover Leaf has become a well loved brand of an entire family of canned seafood products that can be found in the majority of Canadian households’ pantries: tuna, salmon, oysters, mussels, clams, shrimp, crab, lobster, sardines, surimi – and the list goes on. Our reputation has been built on quality and trust, and we work very hard to maintain that trust by bringing you the very best every day.

Today, we are the leading branded marketer of canned seafood in Canada, with a 47.2% share of the Canadian canned seafood market. (Source: Nielsen, All Channel $ share, 52 weeks to January 10, 2015).

Our head office is located in Markham, Ontario – just north of Toronto. We have additional sales offices located in Calgary, AB and Montreal, PQ, and our Human Resources department is located in Saint John, NB. Canada wide, we’re here to stay!

Clover Leaf Seafoods Company is a wholly owned subsidiary operating company of Connors Bros., L.P. Connors Bros. is North America’s leading supplier of shelf-stable seafood and one of the world’s top 10 branded seafood companies, producing and marketing shelf-stable seafood products under the Clover Leaf, Brunswick, Bumble Bee, Snow's, Beach Cliff and Sweet Sue brands.

TIMELINE

1871
Alexander Ewen enters into a partnership to can salmon in a venture called Loggie & Company. The cannery is the first on the Fraser river, on the south shore near New Westminster, British Columbia (site later known as Annieville).

1889
The Clover Leaf brand is first introduced to Canadian households. The trademark is owned by the Anglo-American Packing Company selling, among other things, canned mackerel under this brand.

1892
16 canneries are now operating on the Fraser River.

1901
The explosive increase in the number of canneries to 49 puts the Fraser River industry in a crisis of overcapacity.

1902
Industry consolidation occurs and British Columbia Packers’ Association is chartered on April 8 under the favourable trust laws of the state of New Jersey. Alexander Ewen is President and largest shareholder.

1907
Alexander Ewen dies July 8 at age 74.

1908
British Columbia Packers’ Association acquires the rights to the Clover Leaf name and begins selling canned salmon under the brand.

1928
The British Columbia Packers’ Association merges with Gosse Packing Company Ltd. and is federally incorporated in Canada as British Columbia Packers Limited (BC Packers). BC Packers now consists of 44 canneries, 3 cold storage facilities, 5 plants and shipyards, 2 salteries and more than 100 fishing boats, packers and coastal tenders.

1945
(Post World War II) BC Packers’ operations begin to expand rapidly beyond the west coast of Canada. Company facilities are opened up in Ontario, Atlantic Canada and in foreign coastal areas, including the United States, Mexico and Southeast Asia.

1946
BC Packers’ flagship cannery known as Imperial Plant in Steveston B.C. is proclaimed to be the largest fish processing facility in the British Commonwealth.

1960’s
BC Packers begins canning and marketing Albacore tuna and quickly becomes the market leader.

1962
George Weston Limited acquires BC Packers.

1967
George Weston Limited acquires Connors Bros., makers of Brunswick Sardines and Seafood Snacks.

1980’s
The decline of B.C.’s west coast salmon fishing industry is becoming evident with the shortened seasons and reduced fishing fleets.

1985
BC Packers introduces premium Yellowfin (Light) Tuna under the Clover Leaf brand, and quickly becomes market leader.

1989
BC Packers introduces Skipjack (Light) Tuna under the Clover Leaf brand, and quickly becomes market leader.

1990’s
BC Packers begins selling off its redundant properties, non-core trademarks and fishing fleet.

1995
George Weston merges BC Packers and Connors Bros. to jointly represent the Brunswick and Clover Leaf brands.

1997
BC Packers’ only remaining cannery, Imperial Plant, shuts down.

1999
George Weston Limited sells the Clover Leaf branded business to International Home Foods (IHF), creating for the first time Clover Leaf Seafoods as a separate legal entity. IHF rolls the company in with its U.S. canned seafood division Bumble Bee.

2001
Clover Leaf is first in Canada to market Flavoured Tuna and ready-to-eat Tuna Salad Kits. ConAgra Foods acquires IHF. The doors to BC Packers’ head offices are closed for the last time.

2003
The Clover Leaf/Bumble Bee business is bought from ConAgra by the division’s senior management.

2004
Clover Leaf/Bumble Bee merge with Connors Bros., makers of Brunswick sardines, to become Connors Bros. Income Fund, North America’s largest branded seafood company.

2006
Clover Leaf is the first in Canada to market ready-to-eat Yellowfin Tuna Steaks

2008
Connors is acquired by Centre Partners, and Clover Leaf once again becomes a privately held company.

2010
Connors has grown too big for Centre partners. Centre partners sells its interest in Connors to Lion Capital LLP, unlocking new opportunities for Clover Leaf.

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