Our Roots

Sean and Melissa sitting on a pile of logs
Sean and Melissa sitting on a pile of salvaged logs

Introducing URBAN TREE SALVAGE®, where craftsmanship meets sustainability. As a family-owned business, we take pride in creating stunning furniture and accessories from locally salvaged logs. Established in 2004 by the talented artisan duo, Sean and Melissa Gorham, we are Canada’s first municipal log salvaging operation.

Our journey began with a vision to transform local municipal forestry waste into something extraordinary. When faced with challenges like insect infestation, disease or urban development, we rescue these logs from their fate as mulch and firewood. We are committed to preserving our natural forests and educating the public on innovative waste utilization.

Our seasoned experts utilize their extensive knowledge in arboriculture and woodworking to transform these salvaged logs into one-of-a-kind creations. From charcuterie boards to boardroom tables, every piece we create carries a story of revival and preservation.

As some of the oldest members in our city, trees are rich with stories. While we prepare them into workable lumber, we begin to unfold these tales. Buried within, we’ll often find concrete, bricks, metal spikes and other artifacts. These objects remind us that people, roads and urban development invaded the space of trees, not the other way around.

We take great pride in our unwavering commitment to preserving the natural environment. Our mission is to unlock the hidden beauty and value within each log, while minimizing waste and promoting sustainability. Through our meticulous craftsmanship, we transform salvaged materials into exquisite pieces that not only showcase the inherent beauty of wood, but also contribute to a greener future.

In 2004, URBAN TREE SALVAGE® was born out of a daring mission to salvage urban wood waste, paving the way for a greener future. We took on the challenge head-on, becoming pioneers in Canada’s environmental movement. Our dedication to promoting eco-friendly ideals has made us leaders in the industry, shaping the way wood is salvaged and utilized.

Logging truck with logs
Logging truck filled with salvaged logs

Your Local Wood Supplier

At URBAN TREE SALVAGE®, we started with a simple mission: to make a difference in the world of woodworking and our environment. Our humble beginnings saw us supplying raw materials to local woodworkers, businesses, and schools. We pioneered the concept of utilizing reclaimed and recycled wood, spending hours educating clients about the advantages of municipal salvaged trees versus forest-grown ones.

sean selecting a slab
Sean selecting some slabs for a project
Holding a tour at our milling yard
Sean holding a tour on urban forestry

As time went on, our efforts paid off. We built strong partnerships with renowned local manufacturers and college woodworking courses. We even opened our doors to wood scientists, industry professionals, and forestry students from near and far. Through educational sessions, we shared our knowledge about our wood salvaging operation, non-commercially harvested species, and the environmental benefits they bring.

Fast forward to today, we take great pride in being the original urban wood salvaging operation in Canada rescuing thousands of logs that would otherwise end up in landfills. Join us in our mission to create sustainable solutions for the woodworking industry while preserving our environment for future generations.

Cica 1830 Queens Wharf Salvage
Excavating beams from the Queen's Wharf

Reclaiming Toronto's History

Between 2006 and 2007, we expanded our salvaging operation by reclaiming historic beams that were being trucked to landfill, at great expense to the environment and the local community. During the construction of two local condo developments in downtown Toronto, historic wharfs were discovered during the excavation process. Verified by Archeologists, the remnants of the Queen’s Wharf from the 1830s and the Toronto Ferry Terminal Wharf from 1910 were uncovered revealing hidden treasures of the city’s history.

Due to our growing reputation in the salvaging industry, the developers approached us to help divert these timbers from ending up in landfills. After hundreds of dump trucks and hundreds of thousands of board feet of lumber later, we expanded our manufacturing operations and started producing reclaimed lumber from these stunning historic first growth timbers. This reclaimed lumber became available for local and nationwide woodworking communities.

As the city’s leading supplier of salvaged and reclaimed lumber, we became the go-to company for individuals seeking unique and environmentally conscious products. We were even honored to receive support from world-famous environmentalists like David Suzuki and Bob Hunter, as well as the Queen of England!

To learn more about the reclaiming efforts of the historic Queen’s Wharf and the Toronto Ferry Terminal wharf, be sure to check out our BLOG.

Hundreds of Dump loads Salvaged
Dropping off a load of wharf beams
Queens wharf salvage
Unearthing the historic Queen's Wharf

Our Evolution

Over the years, we have consistently grown our salvaging company by opening our furniture and accessories division, specializing in crafting unique, one-of-a-kind tables from beautiful salvaged trees. Our creations have been sought after by individual consumers, as well as corporate and institutional clients. Additionally, our serving platters are frequently used in various restaurants across Canada and the rest of North America to present delicious food to diners.

In the year 2014, our organization took a significant step forward by successfully acquiring a parcel of land. This strategic move enabled us to expand our operations and create ample space for our growing needs. As a result, we proudly built our new warehouse facility, with a fully-equipped woodshop and metal shop within the premises, further enhancing our capabilities to meet the demands of our valued customers.

Adding pizza to live edge serving platters
Wood Serving Platters
our woodshop
Our woodshop
Breakfast Television interview
Breakfast TV interview
Manitoba Maple bench top
Manitoba Maple Bench top

In 2016, our company underwent a transition, dedicating ourselves solely to our passion for creating custom furniture and accessory pieces using the wood we have been fortunate enough to salvage over the years. Melissa and Sean can often be found in the woodshop, working with the beautiful materials they have saved from wood chippers and landfills.

As Canada’s original log salvaging operation, we have been fortunate to receive support from both local and international media over the years. UTS quickly gained recognition in the design industry, being featured on various television shows and endorsed by celebrity designers and A-list stars. You can find a list of publications and television spotlights here.

As a member of the Ontario Wood Program, URBAN TREE SALVAGE® is industry-approved, certifying that our products are made from wood grown, harvested, and processed here in Ontario. It demonstrates our commitment to sustainability and supporting local communities. By using salvaged wood, we are reducing waste, preserving natural resources, and promoting a more sustainable approach to woodworking. It’s wonderful to see how the industry we helped create is flourishing.