October 25, 2001- Odds are most of us don’t remember where we were that day but my guess is that a few folks in southern Ontario remember it very well.

Brampton facility associates share their memories and thoughts for a new photo wall that will go into the facility’s lobby.

Monika Mistry

That’s because 15 years ago today over 300 guests were gathered in Brampton, ON to celebrate the official opening of Coca-Cola’s newest production and distribution facility there. With a price tag of $150 million, our Brampton facility was the largest investment made by Coca-Cola in Canada and the largest facility of its kind in North America.

John Stiefelmeyer, Vice President of Sales for Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada, still remembers his first reaction to the behemoth facility, “The sheer size of Brampton compared to the other current facilities was overwhelming. It was interesting to see peoples’ expressions when they first stepped into the new facility – a combination of awe and pride!”

The feeling of pride was certainly well placed because with 630,000 sq. ft of floor space (that’s around seven football fields) our Brampton facility remains the largest in Canada and supplies distribution centres from coast to coast.

To commemorate this special occasion Bill Schultz, President of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada, invited MPP Harinder Malhi and Mayor Linda Jeffrey as well as customers and community partners to join the facility’s hospitable staff in celebrating the plant’s crystal anniversary. "I remember when Coca-Cola first opened . . . here in Brampton 15 years ago,” said MPP Harinder Malhi.  “It was a proud moment to have such an iconic brand here in our community, and to realize the number of jobs that have been created over the years along with the many community investments and continued innovation at the bottling plant."

(From left to right) Councillor Jeff Bowman, Bill Schultz, Councillor Martin Medeiros, Councillor Doug Whillans, MPP Harinder Malhi, Paul Brennan, Ghulam “Gordie” Mohammed, Mayor Linda Jeffrey and Maggie Wu toast 15 years of Coca-Cola in Brampton.

 

Gordie and Maggie hold the titles of Brampton facility’s longest serving employee (an incredible 44 years) and its newest employee (Tuesday was her first day with Coca-Cola) respectively. 

Monika Mistry


During the ceremony many of the facility’s accomplishments of the past decade and a half were highlighted:

  • Adopting new PET bottle molding techniques, optimizing water consumption during production as well as diverting over 99% of our waste from landfills to reduce our environmental footprint.
  • Being at the frontline of many product innovations in Canada, from the launch of 12-pack Fridgemate packaging to Coca-Cola Zero, Share a Coke and Coca-Cola Life.
  • Giving back to the community by supporting Brampton institutions like The Knight’s Table, a local organization dedicated to stamping out hunger, poverty and homelessness in Peel Region, and the annual Santa Claus Parade.

Enough cannot be said of the enthusiasm from all the facility associates who attended Tuesday’s event. In his final remarks Bill Schultz had this message for the Brampton plant’s incredible staff: “Our success will depend in part on our ability to adapt and embrace change day to day, week to week and year to year.  I want to thank all of our employees, who work hard every day to make our business a success.  Whether you’ve been here since the first day back in 2001 or this is your first week, we cannot be successful without you. Thank you!”

To put the ultimate bow on the day’s festivities, Mayor Jeffrey toasted the facility and its staff and declared October 25, 2016 “Coca-Cola Day” in Brampton.

(From left to right) Mayor Linda Jeffrey, Bill Schultz, Councillor Doug Whillans, Councillor Martin Medeiros, Paul Brennan & Councillor Jeff Bowman with the proclamation declaring October 25, 2016 as “Coca-Cola Day” in the city of Brampton.

Monika Mistry