Omstead Fisheries Beginnings

A History Lesson

Omstead Foods Limited celebrated nearly a century in the commercial fishing industry on the Great Lakes. Founded in 1911 by Everett Henry Omstead, the food industry was established on shores of Lake Erie, becoming one of Canada’s largest food processors and became the largest freshwater fishery in the world. The company was founded on hard work, a key ingredient for the recipe of success. That characteristic attitude owes its origins to the determination and resilience brought to the business from the beginning days.

Pointing the Way

Much of the success of Omstead Foods can be attributed to Leonard R. Omstead. As the eldest of the seven brothers, he provided a good deal of leadership that distinguished their business operation from others. L.R had an innate business sense, to deal honestly with customers, accept and recognize challenges that proved he was a born leader. “ We don’t have problems.  We have opportunities” was a statement that sums the industrious approach taken during challenging times.

img029The last boat to be built for the family-owned Omstead Foods Limited was launched at Erieau in the summer of 1980. “THE OMSTEADER” was christened by Leonard Omstead Sr.The eighty foot combination gill net tug and trawler was built under the direction of master boat builder Ralph Hurley of Port Burwell.


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First truck (Omstead Fisheries Ltd.). Formerly Leonard (Papa) has his own, trucking for his dad Everett H, Omstead. Left to right: Leonard, Duane, Rex, Gord, Norm, Bob and Arleigh.

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Leonard, Leonard Jr., and John O’s Dad, Gerald (Jake) E. Omstead

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