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Sweeney Cooperage

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Sweeney Cooperage

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Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. was established in Victoria in 1889 by Michael Sweeney. The company was incorporated in 1912, and the following year, in 1913, a branch was established in Esquimalt. A Vancouver branch soon followed in 1914. (See note below on dates.) The latter was opened by Michael's son, M. Leo Sweeney, who succeeded his father and greatly expanded the business. The firm amalgamated with Vancouver Cooperage and Western Cooperage (Portland, Or.) in 1921, changing its name to Canadian Western Cooperage, however, the name reverted back to Sweeney Cooperage Ltd. in 1939, after M. Leo and his wife Mary bought out the company shares. The Montreal branch was established in 1941, with the purchase of the former John Paxton Cooperage. The Vancouver plant, which became the main branch of the company, moved to its final location in the False Creek area in 1941. The Victoria plant continued to operate until 1948. An additional plant was added in 1954 with the acquisition of Western Cooperage Inc. (Seattle, Wash.). From the late 1930s to the late 1960s, Sweeneys was the largest cooperage in the British Empire. M. Leo was assisted by his sons, including Jack G., Ed (Edward) C. and Frank (Francis) J. Sweeney, who served in various executive capacities, and as company directors. In later years, the business was scaled down as the demand for barrels declined, and the number of employees numbered around 10-15. The last remaining plant, in Vancouver, was demolished in 1981 to make room for B.C. Place Stadium. The company continued for several more years thereafter under Frank Sweeney, acting only as a distributor and agent.


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