OTTAWA, Ont. -- Canada is the world's eighth-largest furniture exporter, with annual sales of $11.5 billion last year.
In celebration of the country's 150th birthday, Statistics Canada, a government agency, presented a snapshot on furniture manufacturing, using Canada’s statistical history.
The history of furniture making in Canada began with the indigenous peoples, who built simple handmade furnishings long before Europeans arrived.
The 1666 Census in New France indicated that of the 3,215 European inhabitants in the colony, 27 were joiners and 36 were carpenters. These individuals would have constructed homes and a variety of basic furniture pieces for the colony's residents.
In 1830, Jacob Hoffman opened Canada's first furniture factory in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener), and the industry started to slowly expand in Ontario and Quebec.
Following the Second World War, furniture manufacturing became more automated, and annual sales reached $641.6 million CDN in 1967.
By 2002, furniture sales were 20 times higher than in 1967, reaching an all-time high of $13.9 billion. In 2016, Canada was the world's eighth-largest furniture exporter, with annual sales of $11.5 billion.
Also by 2016, there were an estimated 7,087 furniture manufacturers across Canada, 97 percent of which were Canadian-owned and operated. Sources: CANSIM tables 304-0003 and 304-0014. See www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/start.. A monthly report on Gross Domestic Product lists all the industries in Canada, including wood products items like cabinetry and furniture.