There are few Canadian families who can claim such a long and illustrious history in construction and property development as the Fuller family of Thomas Fuller Construction Company Ltd. and The Fuller Group, in Ottawa, Ontario…
In fact, the company’s heritage is such that it runs parallel to that of the country, as the group claims to be the biggest and longest-standing business of its kind under Ottawan ownership. It has successfully completed over 860 projects in its tenure. Today, siblings Sam and Leigh Fuller are stepping up to the challenge of finding their way in the family business.
Specializing in general construction, design-build projects, and consulting services, this industry legend understands the long haul when it comes to maintaining its strong reputation. In fact, the company’s history predates its arrival in Canada, starting in England around the middle of the nineteenth century. It all began when Thomas Fuller took up his position as architect after completing his studies in his birthplace of Bath, Somerset.
The young Mr. Fuller completed multiple contracts there and in the city of London, after which he is said to have set sail for Antigua Island, West Indies in 1845. There, he designed the Anglican Cathedral of St. John’s in St. John’s Town on the same spot where two previous churches had been levelled by earthquakes. Thomas eventually left the island for England where he continued his work, designing scores of public buildings.
He left the United Kingdom for Canada in 1857, creating a base for himself in Toronto where he became a colleague and business associate of a local contractor, Chilion Jones. The team was contracted to design and build Toronto’s Anglican Church of St. Stephen-in-the-Fields, which was sadly ruined by fire in 1865 and subsequently redesigned. From there, they went on to make the big time in 1859, when Fuller’s neo-gothic design was accepted for the original Centre Block of Canada’s Houses of Parliament, which he and Chilion completed.
In 1863, the by then-famous architect amended it with Charles Baillairgé. Fuller was appointed supervising architect at Parliament Hill and rose to become the Dominion of Canada’s Chief Architect between 1881 and 1897. The family would see one of its own honoured again with the same position when his son, Thomas W. Fuller, took up his appointment in 1927, putting his signature on many significant public buildings and institutions across the country. Thomas W. Fuller was followed by his son, Thomas G. Fuller, who was awarded his first contract in 1939. With a distinguished naval background, this decorated captain of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve made huge strides as a general contractor over five decades in the industry. He later welcomed his sons William, Mark, Antony, and Simon to the Fuller Group of Companies’ ranks.
Under his leadership, the company built the Ottawa Police Service Headquarters, the city’s General Hospital, its Congress Centre and many more local landmarks. The team was also responsible for the restoration of the Parliament Library between 2002 and 2006 and collaborated on restoring the Centre Building’s Peace Tower. Thomas G. Fuller passed away in 1994 at the blessed age of 85, leaving a rich legacy behind.
The four Fuller sons proudly continue building on the legacy of their ancestors together with the fifth generation of Fullers.
The company’s work is as sought-after as ever and includes everything from multi-storey office buildings to shopping malls, institutional buildings, and hospitals, to name only a few. One of its most famous projects, the Tall Ships Landing Coastal Resort in Brockville, Ontario, is a condominium-type development featuring Cottage-iniums™ on the St. Lawrence River amongst the Thousand Islands along the U.S.-Canadian border. This mammoth project is said to have reached the $114 million mark, offering a cornucopia of hotel rooms, activities, shopping, restaurants and leisurely living. The project was completed in 2015, enjoying premium attention to detail with bespoke finishes and color palettes to suit owners’ tastes throughout – a challenging offering on a project of this size. The company was also responsible for the construction of the resort’s 33,000+ square foot Aquatarium and Discovery Centre, more than 80 moorings and a lot more.
Naturally, Thomas Fuller Construction Company is always working on a number of projects. One of these, Ottawa’s Burnside Building on 151 Slater, comprises a complete makeover. The building was originally built by the company in 1966 and will once again make its contribution toward breathing fresh life into the city’s downtown.
The team is also working on a number of renovations and is particularly favoured for its wastewater systems. In the past, it has worked on many civil construction projects in Ontario such as Alfred-Lefaivre’s water treatment plant; the Campeau Drive pumping station for the City of Ottawa; and the Town of Renfrew’s water treatment plant as well as that of Smith’s Falls, the latter of which entailed entirely new waterworks consisting of a number of important systems such as pumps, wells, a purification facility and all the infrastructure needed to make the property functional, such as a parking area and a road. Shining examples of the company’s work can be found throughout the province in places like Belleville, Peterborough, North Bay and elsewhere in Ontario.
If there is one thing about Thomas Fuller Construction Company Ltd. that strikes one as such a part of its fabric that the two appear entirely inseparable, it is its love of modernity coupled with a deep sense of and respect for heritage. With architecture and construction running in this family business’ veins, one cannot help but appreciate why the Fullers and their fantastic team have become a household name in Ontario, Canada.
With its eye squarely on the future, this industry legend prides itself on doing what it has done for generations – staying ahead of trends and technology, and delivering above and beyond its clients’ expectations.