The United Grain Growers Company, commonly known as UGG, was a co-operative company formed by the merger of the Grain Growers’ Grain Company (GGGC) and the Alberta Farmers’ Cooperative Elevator Company (AFCEC) in 1917.
The UGG grew to become one of the largest grain elevator companies in Canada, behind the three western provincial Pools (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba).
In 1943 UGG purchased the 68 elevators of the Gillespie Grain Company. In 1968 the UGG purchased McCabe Grain.
In 2001, UGG merged with Agricore (itself a merger of the Alberta Wheat Pool and Manitoba Pool Eoevators) to form Agricore United.
Several years later, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and James Richardson International both attempted to take over Agricore United. The Pool’s bid prevailed, and the Pool took over Agricore United, becoming the combined company now known as Viterra.
Manitoba passed the Manitoba Elevator Act on March 15, 1910 to acquire grain elevators for the use of Manitoba’s farmers. The province, through the new Manitoba Elevator Commission (MEC), acquired 166 elevators from other elevator companies. Some of those elevators were of very questionable quality and ended up never being used. The MEC also ended up building another 40 or so elevators.
This experiment ended up being a significant loss for the province, and in 1911 the GGGC leased 174 grain elevators from the MEC and ended up operating 135 of them.
The GGGC bought 4 more elevators in 1913 and built two more, and leased a terminal elevator in Fort William from the Canadian Pacific Railway.
With the merger with the AFCEC, the UGG had 343 elevators across the prairies in 1918. By the 1928-29 season they had 463 grain elevators.
Graph based on data from the excellent book The Rise and Fall of United Grain Growers by Paul D. Earl (affiliate link).
Surviving Ex UGG Grain Elevators
An incomplete list of former UGG grain elevators includes:
- Barnsley, Manitoba
- Crossfield, Alberta
- Elva, Manitoba
- Gull Lake, Saskatchewan
- Lepine, Saskatchewan
- Melita, Manitoba
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