Since Before Confederation

From a modest operation started by two brothers in Montreal in 1858, RJR-Macdonald Inc. has become a major subsidiary of R.J. Reynolds International. William and Augustine Macdonald launched Macdonald Brothers and Co. Tobacco Manufacturers to import tobacco from Kentucky and manufacture chewing and smoking tobacco plugs. Rapid expansion necessitated a move in 1876 to Ontario Street East, where the company still maintains its manufacturing and research facilities. A world renowned philanthropist, William died in 1917, leaving the company to the Stewart brothers, long-time employees. It was under the stewardship of Walter Stewart that the company introduced cut pipe tobacco and the first “roll your own” cigarette tobaccos. Cigarette production was added in 1922, the first brand being British Consol Export. Walter’s son, David M. Stewart, diversified into cigar-making during the 1960s. In 1974, the Macdonald Tobacco Company was bought by R. J. Reynolds Industries of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Shortly thereafter the name was changed to RJR-Macdonald Inc.

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RJR-Macdonald has carried on manufacturing in the Ontario Street, Montreal, building since 1876.

Now headquartered in Toronto, RJR-Macdonald Inc. continues to produce a full range of high quality Canadian cigarette brands, fine cut tobaccos, cigars and cigarette papers. Most of its Canadian products are manufactured with Virginia flue-cured tobacco grown in southwestern Ontario. RJR-Macdonald produces well-known Canadian brands such as Export “A” and Vantage. It also imports several well-known American brands (Winston, Camel, Salem) which are manufactured by its sister company R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in Winston-Salem.

The plant in Montreal has seen many changes, particularly in the 1980s when substantial capital investment was made to modernize operations. Using state-of-the-art equipment, its 350 employees are capable of producing more than 14 billion units annually, and have a reputation for producing high-quality products, some of which have been produced for and distributed by RJR affiliates in other parts of the world.

RJR-Macdonald has been associated with many special causes and sporting events in Canada. Most notable among these events is the extremely popular Export “A” Skins game featuring four top PGA golfers competing on a world-class Canadian golf course. Over the years, RJR-Macdonald has also provided financial support and marketing expertise to help promote other sports such as curling, downhill and freestyle skiing, hockey, fishing and hydroplane boating.

RJR-Macdonald is proud of its long standing social and community involvement, its commitment to be an equal opportunity employer, its record of good management-employee relations, and its identity as a successful company with roots clearly and firmly established in Canada.