Sifto Canada Corp.

Ingrained in Canadian Culture and Community

Visiting the Sifto Canada website is like opening a page in Canada’s history books. Although the Sifto mine in Goderich, Ontario, is not the only mine in

the country, you wouldn’t think any other operation comes close when it comes to having a rich history and profound story to tell. The Sifto salt mine, once a standalone entity has now become a key part in the future of the salt industry, and, in turn, the prosperity of hundreds of local Canadians.

How it all began

The Sifto story begins when Mr. Sam Platt was prospecting for oil in 1866. Platt’s drilling rig struck rock salt at about 1,000 feet beneath Goderich Harbour. He had heard about salt deposits in the area but he never expected to find this type of salt bed – the first discovery of its kind recorded in North America. Platt himself was an adept businessman and his company had a 51 per cent dividend over the next years. Later, his discovery would start a ‘salt rush’ because in fact, his salt discovery was part of a huge geological formation called the Michigan Salt Basin.

By 1867, the same year the Dominion of Canada was formed, 12 salt wells were situated in the Maitland River valley down to its link with Goderich Harbour and Lake Huron. Goderich itself was known as the prettiest town in Canada, and it still lives up to its name. A tourist town, Goderich is nestled on the south eastern shores of Lake Huron, about 40 minutes north of Grand Bend – one of the most popular beach areas in Ontario. The destination is popular for vacationers and also a great place for cottages and beach development. The salt that came from Goderich far surpassed world-famous English salt and won a first prize at the 1867 Paris Exhibition. However, the mass production of Goderich salt did not begin until 1880, and when production started it was through a very simple process. 

According to the Sifto website: “Rows of some 100 heavy, open, cast iron kettles of 120 to 140 gallons each, of pumped brine, were set on furnaces dependent on wood for fire. This evaporation process produced a fine flake salt which as air-dried and then shipped in barrels made by coopers who worked on the site”. The process that was being used was expensive, however, and “as wood fuel in the area was consumed the cost escalated”. Eventually, the salt production process had to be streamlined. It was continually improved until the Goderich solution mine

was converted into a vacuum pan process consisting of “one vertical steel tank with internal heating tubes conducting steam. This operation produced granular salt crystals widely used for table salt. It was also cost-effective” (see

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