Founded in 1957 in Victoria, BC by Reginald Cameron Thurber, the firm was created to provide services in soil mechanics and foundation engineering, primarily for highways and railways. After Reg’s plane crash in early 1968, the firm continued to thrive by adding new capabilities and expanding eastwards into Alberta.
Reginald Cameron Thurber was born in 1919 in Bear River, Nova Scotia. In 1921 his family moved to Edson, Alberta. After high school, Reg joined the Royal Canadian Air Force where he began as an aircraft mechanic and worked his way up to becoming a pilot. After the war, Reg studied Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta.
Upon graduating in 1949, Reg was hired by the BC Department of Public Works to establish a materials testing service in Victoria. The branch provided construction quality control and site investigation services, including drilling. In 1957 Reg left government to form a partnership with Dave Coffey that became R.C. Thurber and Associates.
On January 8, 1968, a Cessna 320 took off from Vancouver bound for Edmonton with Reg Thurber, Harvey Dishaw and Gary Foslien on board. The plane completed a required radio check over Enderby, BC. but never made the next scheduled radio check at Rocky Mountain House, AB. A NORAD radar station located in Montana tracked the plane in a slow descent east of Enderby until they lost contact somewhere in the Rogers Pass area. The search for the missing plane was one of the largest in Canadian aviation history.
On July 29, 2006, a pair of hikers stumbled across the site of the plane crash in a remote area near Golden, BC. A nearby peak was subsequently named Thurber Mountain by the BC Government (N51 degrees 37 minutes 54 seconds, E117 degrees 05 minutes 32 seconds, Elev. 2510 m).
The Company Expands
Following the crash, there was an initial contraction followed by slow steady growth. In 1970 the Edmonton Office was opened and the name was changed to Thurber Consultants Ltd. In the mid-1970s the Vancouver office was opened and it quickly became well established in the fields of land development, soft soils and terrain hazard assessments. In the early 1980s the Calgary Office was opened with a focus on water resources and permafrost work. In 1989 the firm was re-organized to form Thurber Engineering Ltd. and the Toronto office was opened soon after.
We have continued to expand and also maintain offices in Fort McMurray, Kamloops, Ottawa and Saskatoon. Our strong presence within Canada allows us to understand the diverse and complex geological and environmental conditions across this country.
Today, the firm has over 300 employees located in 9 offices (Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Saskatoon, Toronto and Ottawa). We provide a diverse range of geotechnical, environmental and materials testing and engineering services in numerous market sectors across the country. Our strength lies in our relationships with our staff and with our clients. We strive to provide a seamless service across all our offices and believe clients will reap the benefits of our entire team’s knowledge and expertise. From across Canada, every touchpoint with our team will feel consistent and supportive.