Our History

1938
W.A. AKHURST COMPANY LIMITED

1938

After 30 years as the Western Manager of the Canadian Fairbanks Morse company, W.A. Akhurst starts W.A. Akhurst Company Limited.

FIRST INVOICE

1938

On May 31, 1938, W.A. Akhurst produced the first invoice of W.A. Akhurst Machinery Company Limited to Buckerfields Limited.

1939
AKHURST LOGO

1939

Akhurst got started by distributing the popular Esterer Gang Saw. This was the inspiration for our logo today.

1945
H.W. AKHURST JOINS AKHURST MACHINERY LTD.

1945

H.W. (Spud) Akhurst, son of W.A. Akhurst joins Akhurst Machinery Limited after serving in the Canadian Navy onboard the HMCS Alberni which was sunk by a torpedo in the english channel in 1944.  Spud was one of the 31 crewmen that survived the sinking which claimed the lives of 59 men.

FIRST CAR

1945

Mr. H.W. Akhurst with his first means of business transportation. A 1945 Morris Minor.

1946
SUN BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER

1946

In May 1938, W.A. Akhurst incorporated W.A. Akhurst Machinery Company Limited. Mr. Akhurst moved his office from his home to the 17th floor of the Sun Building at 500 Beatty Street in Vancouver, BC. In 1946, the company moved to the 19th floor where they eventually took over the majority of the floor. This historic building has survived the massive redevelopment of Vancouver.

1950
SECOND GENERATION

1950

Following the passing of W.A. Akhurst,company ownership was then passed to Spud Akhurst.

1955
LARGER VANCOUVER FACILITY

1955

In April of 1955, W.A. Akhurst Machinery Company Limited relocated to a larger facility with a showroom and warehouse at 215 West 2nd Avenue in Vancouver, occupying 1/3 of the building at that time. The company would eventually take over the remaining 2/3 of the building in October of 1969.

1957
BRUCE AKHURST, SOAP BOX DERBY CAR

1957

Bruce Akhurst, son of H.W. Akhurst, in his company sponsored Soap Box Derby car in front of the first company station wagon in 1957

1960
ALBERTA BRANCH

1960

Looking to expand his business Spud Akhurst opens a facility in Edmonton, Alberta in order to service the prairie provinces.

1961
NATIONAL COVERAGE

1961

In 1961, H.W. Akhurst got together with Ralph Johnson (formally President of Mill Equipment and Distributors Limited) and agreed to form Akhurst Machinery Limited to sell woodworking and mill machinery east of the Manitoba-Ontario border. With this agreement, the Akhurst organizations could give national coverage.

ONTARIO BRANCH

1961

Opening of Toronto Branch under name of Akhurst Machinery (Eastern) Limited

1965
AKHURST-UBJ MACHINERY LIMITED

1965

In December of 1964, Mr. Upton, President of Upton Bradeen & James Limited (U.B.J.) was retiring and the company was having financial difficulties. They asked H.W. Akhurst to go east for a year and act as Vice-President and General Manager. Mr. Akhurst spent 3 weeks in the East and 10 days in Vancouver. In appreciation for Mr. Akhurst’s efforts, it was agreed that as of January 1, 1965, U.B.J. would confine their business to east of the Manitoba/Ontario Border. Akhurst would take over all their machine tool machinery and supply lines in the west. The name of W.A. Akhurst Machinery Company Limited was changed to Akhurst UBJ Machinery Limited. The eastern branches assumed the name of Akhurst Machinery Limited.

QUEBEC BRANCH

1965

Opening of Montreal Branch under name of Akhurst Machinery (Eastern) Limited

1969
NEW ALBERTA BRANCH

1969

Purchased and moved Edmonton Branch to current location of 9615-63rd Ave.

1970
NEW BRUNSWICK BRANCH

1970

Opening of New Brunswick Branch to cover all Maritime Provinces

1974
LARGER VANCOUVER FACILITY

1974

Akhurst constructs and opens 16,000 sq. ft. warehouse, showroom, and offices at 216 West 2nd Avenue in Vancouver, which was right across the street from their existing facility.

1975
APPOINTED AS REFORM AGENT IN NORTH AMERICA

1975

Akhurst forms strategic distribution partnership with A. Rabenseifner & Co of Fulda, Germany to distribute their Reform brand of knife and surface grinders. This strategic partnership still exists today and they have successfully installed more than 1,200 grinders.

FIRST REFORM PURCHASE ORDER

1975

Copy of the first purchase order issued to Reform in 1975, which was framed and given to Bruce Akhurst in 2005, celebrating 30 years of partnership.

1977
PORTLAND FACILITY

1977

Akhurst Machinery Limited opened a branch in Portland, OR in 1977 to service the sawmill industry in the Pacific Northwest.

1981
BEST BOOTH AWARD

1981

Spud Akhurst and his staff receiving the Best Multiple Booth Exhibit Award at the Vancouver Industrial Exhibition in 1981.

1984
COASTAL MACHINERY

1984

Akhurst Machinery Inc. purchases Coastal Machinery Co.
Coastal manufactured high speed planers and matchers, as well as offered repair services for the sawmill and planer mill industry. This was the company’s first venture into manufacturing.

OREGON FACILITY

1984

Akhurst purchases 15,000 sq. ft. building in Portland to accommodate the Coastal and Akhurst operations, which included administrative offices, a showroom, and a manufacturing plant.

1988
WASHINGTON FACILITY

1988

Akhurst Machinery Inc. opens a branch office in Seattle, WA to better serve the woodworking industry in that state.

1989
ED LYE

1989

C.E. (Ed) Lye is appointed as President. Ed previously served as the company’s head controller. This marks the first non-family president in the company’s history.

1994
THIRD GENERATION

1994

Upon passing of H.W. Akhurst, ownership was passed to 3rd Generation Bruce Akhurst & Brian Akhurst.  Brothers Bruce and Brian both worked in the company for over 45 years, until their retirement in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

1997
NEW DELTA FACILITY

1997

Move to new Facility in Delta, BC.   In the summer of 1997, nearly 20 years after the construction of our building on 2nd Avenue in Vancouver we moved to our current BC Branch location which has over 28,000 square feet of warehouse, showroom, and office space.

1998
CANTEK AMERICA INC.

1998

Cantek America Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Akhurst Machinery) is incorporated in the U.S.    In 1985, we made our first trip to Taiwan to investigate this up and coming market for machinery manufacturing.  In 1988 we started offering this product in the United States. The relationships formed in these early years still exist today and we have been a significant contributor to the development of equipment in Taiwan.

2000
ERIC STEBNER

2000

Eric Stebner is appointed as President upon the retirement of Ed Lye. Eric is the current company president til this day.

2007
LEADERMAC USA

2007

Akhurst is appointed as the Leadermac agent in North America. Leadermac is a world-class 4-sided moulder manufacturer.

R-L: Bruce Akhurst, Michael Chang (CEO, Leadermac), Mr. Chang (Owner, Leadermac).

2013
MILESTONE ANNIVERSARY

2013

Akhurst Machinery celebrates 75 years of business. To mark this milestone, they hosted a party for their valued suppliers and partners and the WMS show in Mississauga, ON

2014
FOURTH GENERATION

2014

Ownership transferred to 4th Generation Graham Akhurst, Ryan Akhurst, and Brent Akhurst upon the retirement of Bruce and Brian Akhurst.

L-R: Ryan Akhurst, Eric Stebner, Brent Akhurst, Graham Akhurst

2018
New Mississauga, ON Facility

Akhurst purchased and moved to a larger facility in Mississauga, ON with a state of the art showroom facility, and tripled the warehousing capacity.