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history_founder.jpg BDI History

Vision and Sustained Growth

Looking at the history and development of BDI Canada is like looking at the successful story of industrial development in Canada from the middle of the last century to the present day. In fact BDI Canada’s story mirrors our country’s coming of age on the world stage and we take pride in the role we have played in supporting our nation’s growth.

BDI Canada started as Kenscott Limited in Toronto, which was founded by three partners, Leitch Scott, Harry Kennedy and Bruce Neilson on February 11, 1950. This was an exciting time in Canada - Post-war industrialization was just getting into high gear and a rapidly expanding Canadian population saw huge growth in industries such as paper, forestry, mining, and transportation.

Under the leadership of Leitch Scott, the company developed a sterling reputation for service response and attracted all of the major brands (FAG, Timken, Dow Corning, Sealmaster), to seek distribution through one of the tightest run operations in the country.

1970 - 1980s

By the time the 70’s arrived, Canada was focused on power generation, resource development and automotive manufacturing. Kenscott was already in its second major facility, had started an electro-mechanical division and acquired other industrial supply companies or opened branches in Hamilton, St. Catherines, Brampton, Markham, Whitby and Ottawa.

Our company’s leaders understood that in order to keep pace with Canadian development we needed to be where our customers were, think like our customers thought, and sometimes get there before them, as their development relied on us being in place to keep them running.

With the uncertainty of markets in the 80’s, Kenscott started to look to global development. The Jaymark division was opened to service flour mill machinery conversions globally as well as here at home. The computerizing of the business by Brad Scott, our founder’s son, allowed the company to secure steel mill contracts and to really penetrate the automotive plants of the Big Three.

In 1988, the company became a subsidiary of Noranda’s Wire Rope Industries division, giving it the resources to acquire Manufactures Industrial Supply. This in turn led to the opening of branches in Sudbury and Elliot Lake supporting the resource industries. At the same time, a new branch was opened in Windsor which significantly raised Kenscott’s status with automakers.

history_founder.jpg 1990s

As Canada was coming of age in the 90’s, so too was Kenscott. The most significant event for the company was a second ownership change and its marriage to Bearing Distributors Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio. The merging of these two like businesses created an unstoppable force. Canada was focused on developing industry in Quebec and the Maritimes and the new BDI Canada Inc. was right there keeping pace. In ’95, distribution companies were acquired in Montreal, Scarborough, and Quebec to meet emerging aerospace development. Over the next four years, in addition to opening new branches across the country, BDI acquired one Maritime industrial distributor.

By the end of the century BDI Canada was established as the #1 distributor of bearings, power transmission, fluid power products and associated industrial supplies in Canada.

With the coming of the new century, Canada was recognized as the best country in the world in which to live, work and raise a family. BDI Canada celebrated its 50th anniversary and continued to expand by opening branches in New Glasgow, Dartmouth, Calgary and Edmonton.