Canada’s oldest furniture factory, The Gibbard Furniture Shops Limited, Napanee, Ont., was founded by John Gibbard, a cabinet maker who came to “The Napanee”, as the village was then known, in 1835 and shortly thereafter leased a mill on the canal that still runs through the Gibbard plant. He began the manufacture of sash, doors and furniture, coffins and many items, such as fanning mills, for the local farmers.
The Gibbard Company remained in control of the Gibbard family for four generations, until 1940, when the firm was purchased by Jack McPherson, who had been Sales Manager in the 1920’s. The Presidents since McPherson have been his widow, Mrs. Jack McPherson, David S. Roffey and Bruce R. McPherson, the current chief executive.
In 1964, the company launched its flagship Canadian Legacy line of mahogany and cherrywood furniture. It’s that line that has become recognized as one of the finest Canadian furniture lines, sold by retailers from Kingston to Madrid, Spain.
Seventy Canadian embassies and high commissions around the world are decorated with Gibbard furniture. Bobby Orr sleeps in a Gibbard bed. And even John A. Macdonald is rumoured to have written on a Gibbard desk.
In 2009, after 173 years, The Gibbard Furniture Shops Limited closed their doors.