Our Roots

URBAN TREE SALVAGE® is a family owned and operated company that has mastered the art of creating beautiful furniture and accessories from locally salvaged logs. Founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Sean and Melissa Gorham, URBAN TREE SALVAGE® became Canada’s first and largest municipal log salvaging operation based in Toronto.

Queens Wharf Timbers being milled
Queens Wharf Timbers being milled

Our story began with a dream to utilize forestry waste produced from local municipalities. When a tree comes on hard times, whether from insect infestation, storm damage or urban development, URBAN TREE SALVAGE® rescues these logs from becoming mulch or some other fate as equally unappreciative of a tree’s beauty and value. Our focus is firmly on preserving natural forests, ultimately educating the public on the better utilization of waste products.

With a sawmill, a dry kiln and a vast knowledge of wood, we started salvaging logs one by one from local arborists and local municipal forestry dumpsites.

As there was no other company in Canada involved in this type of salvaging of urban wood waste in 2004, creating URBAN TREE SALVAGE® proved to be a very difficult endeavor, as we progressed the environmental movement of salvaged wood and eco-friendly idealism.

Local Wood Supply

Our company originally started by supplying raw materials to local woodworkers, businesses and schools. As utilizing reclaimed/recycled wood was a new concept, much time was spent meeting with prospective clients, explaining the differences between municipal salvaged trees vs forest grown trees.

Over time, we started building working relationships and supplying raw materials to some well known local manufacturers and college woodworking courses. We also opened our doors to wood scientists, wood industry professionals and local and international forestry students, who we educated about our wood salvaging operation, non-commercially harvested species and the benefits they offer to the environment and the consumer.

In the following years, we expanded to become the largest urban wood salvaging operation in Canada, salvaging thousands of logs each year from ending up in landfill.

Loading the kiln
loading the kiln with wood for tables and furniture
Cica 1830 Queens Wharf Salvage
Cica 1830 Queens Wharf Salvage

Salvaging Toronto's History

In 2006, we expanded our salvage 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 a local condo development in downtown Toronto, an old wharf was discovered during the excavation process. Archeologists determined the origin of these beams as the Queen’s Wharf built in the 1830’s. The following year, the historic Toronto Ferry Terminal wharf from 1910 was discovered just down the road.

With our growing reputation in the salvaging industry, we were approached by the developers to assist in diverting these timbers from landfill. Hundreds of dump trucks later, equating to hundreds of thousands of board feet of lumber, we ramped up our manufacturing and began producing reclaimed lumber from these beautiful historic first growth timbers to offer to local and nationwide woodworking communities.

As the city’s leading supplier of salvaged and reclaimed lumber, we have been the go-to company for those looking for unique and environmentally conscious products. We are honored to receive support by world famous environmentalists such as David Suzuki and Bob Hunter, as well as the queen of England.

Hundreds of Dump loads Salvaged
Hundreds of Dump loads Salvaged
Queens wharf salvage
salvaging old wood from Toronto ferry terminal

As the years have passed, we have continued to expand our furniture and accessories division, creating unique one-of-a-kind tables out of these beautiful trees that we have salvaged for the consumer, as well as many corporate and institutional clients . You will also often see our serving platters being used to serve up your food at particular restaurants across Canada and the rest of North America.

In 2014, we proudly purchased a couple of acres of land to expand our operation, where we have built our new warehouse and full woodshop and metal shop.

In 2016, we transitioned our company, focusing solely on our love of creating custom furniture pieces from all the wood we were so fortunate to salvage throughout the years. Melissa and Sean are more often than not found in the woodshop, working the beautiful material that they have saved from the wood chippers and landfill.

As Canada’s original log salvaging operation, we have been very fortunate with the support we have received over the years from local and international media. UTS quickly became a household name in the design industry, being featured on many local and international television shows and promoted by numerous celebrity designers, as well as A list stars. You can view a list of publications and television spotlights here.

As a member of the Ontario Wood Program, URBAN TREE SALVAGE® has been industry approved, certifying that our products are made from wood that is grown, harvested and processed here in Ontario.

After many years of salvaging, we have had the pleasure of seeing an industry that we created flourishing, having developed into something that has made a significant difference throughout our community and others across Canada.