Labatt Breweries Ontario is a division of Labatt Breweries of Canada, which was founded in London, Ontario in 1847. As one of the nation's longest-established and most successful brewing companies, Labatt brews 60 quality beers in eight breweries from coast to coast and distributes in 40 countries internationally. One of the company's largest breweries is in Toronto. The plant's 350 employees work three shifts and in some 500,000 sq ft, they produced roughly 52 million gal of suds last year.
In the summer of 2000, the facility's plant manager, Robert Bowman, decided it was time for the plant's 30-plus-year-old secondary water tube boiler to go. While the plant has a primary boiler that carries about half the load, the boiler Bowman wanted to replace served mainly as a backup and covered weekend loads. Some of the secondary unit's tubes had been removed, it didn't have an economizer, it had refractory problems, and its skin had been repaired a number of times.