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Record No: mha00000546
Title: Harold L. Lake fonds
Dates: [ca. 1904]-1990 (predominant 1946-1988)
Location: Banks 72-74, Map cabinet 2, PF-312
Provenance: Harold L. Lake
Extent: 20.5 m of textual records; 116 architectural and technical drawings; 9 cartographic maps
Source of Supplied Title: Supplied title based on the creator of the fonds.
Restrictions: No restrictions.
Adm. Hist/Bio. Sketch: Clyde Lake first started in business in Fortune when he went into partnership with A.W. Lake Limited, and in 1913, Clyde Lake and his brother Harry formed Lake and Lake. They became merchandise brokers and commission agents, fish exporters and vessel owners and sub-agents for Liverpool, London, Globe Insurance Company, and Lloyd's of London. In 1934, Clyde Lake started a business in St. John's under the name H.B. Clyde Lake Limited. The business of Lake and Lake Limited (incorporated in 1938) was carried on in Fortune by Harry Lake and later by his son, Russell. H.B. Clyde Lake Limited dealt in the commission business, importing salt, exporting codfish, ships brokerage and marine insurance.

In the 1940s, Spencer Lake, his son, joined the business and was later joined by his other son Harold. In the early 1950s, the company ventured into the fresh frozen fish business by establishing a plant in Gaultois and, in 1955, one in Burgeo and then Englee.

In the late 1940s, Senator George Penny expanded his fish business by founding Caribou Fisheries Inc. in Massachusetts as a marketing operation for the products being produced in his fish plant in Ramea. Following the marriage of Spencer Lake to Margaret (Penny), daughter of Senator George Penney, integration of the companies began and Caribou Fisheries Limited began to market products from the Lake Companies.

The Lake Group of Companies resulted from the integration of companies formed by Senator George J. Penny and later expanded by his daughter, Margaret, and companies formed by H. B. Clyde Lake and later his sons, Spencer and Harold.

In 1974, the Lake Group of Companies, with Spencer Lake as President, his son H.D.C. (Berch) as Managing Director of Caribou Fisheries Limited and Harold Lake, took over the Bonavista Cold Storage Company Limited which added plants in Bonavista, Fermeuse and Grand Bank and also added fourteen fishing vessels to their fleet.

In 1978, the Lake Group of Companies acquired Booth Fisheries Limited of Fortune which had been owned by Consolidated Foods Inc. of Chicago. This company, now called Fortune Fisheries Limited, added eight more fishing vessels to the fleet.

In 1979, Caribou Fisheries Inc. expanded its business in the USA when it bought Boston Bonnie Inc. in Boston. Boston Bonnie Inc. was renamed Caribou Food Industries Inc. and produced breaded and cooked seafood products. In addition to moving into the secondary processing sector of the fishery, Caribou Fisheries Limited founded its second subsidiary, Trans Ocean Trading Corporation Inc. in 1979 as an independent trading organization to compete in New England trading markets.

By 1979, through integration with the Pennys and other acquisitions, the Lake Group Limited had five offshore plants, namely in Grand Bank, Fortune, Ramea, Gaultois and Fermeuse with a fleet of thirty fishing vessels, three inshore fishing plants in Bonavista, Englee and Bide Arm plus a secondary processing plant in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1981, the integrated companies were consolidated into one corporation. The Lake Group (1981) Limited, had Spencer Lake as chairman, and his wife Margaret, father Clyde and brother Harold as directors. The company soon found itself in imminent danger of bankruptcy following a loss in 1980 of nearly eight million dollars. It carried an eighteen million dollar debt with interest rates at 20%. The heavy debt load continued, and on April 5, 1982 the Provincial Government had to step in and pay five million dollars to the Bank of Nova Scotia to cover loans due by the company and guaranteed by the government. The Lake Group Limited and its affiliated companies now consisted of The Lake Group Limited, Fortune Fisheries Limited, John Penny and Sons Limited, all in Newfoundland; Caribou Reefers Limited, Bahamas; and Caribou Fisheries, Inc., Caribou Food Industries, Inc., Caribou International Limited, and The Trans Ocean Trading Corporation, all of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1981, The Lake Group replaced Harold L. Lake as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lake Group Limited and its affiliated and associated companies in Newfoundland with Timothy C. Eburne, who had been President and Chief Executive Officer of The Lake Group's associated American Companies, Caribou Fisheries Limited and Caribou Foods Inc. in Boston. Eburne brought in other accounting specialists to assist the management team in trying to turn the desperate financial situation around. However, they had limited success, and in 1982, the Bank of Nova Scotia called in its loans and began running the company through an accounting firm. Shortly after, Timothy Eburne was hired as a bankruptcy specialist by the bank to close out the company and its subsidiaries.

On December 31, 1984 following a fisheries restructuring agreement, The Lake Group Limited was amalgamated into Fishery Products International, and ceased to exist as an independent company. This new company was the amalgamation of Fishery Products International Limited; The Lake Group Limited; Marlake Limited; John Penny and Sons Limited; Caribou Fisheries Limited; North Atlantic Fisheries Limited; T. J. Hardy Company Limited; Newfishco Limited; Fishery Products (St. Anthony) Limited; Fishery Products (Harbour Breton) Limited; Great Harbour Deep Seafoods Limited; and Caribou International Limited.
Scope and Content: The fonds consists of family papers and business records accumulated by Harold Lake as managing director in the Lake Group of Companies. Also included are records for his own company, Newfoundland Fisheries Limited, and material collected through his involvement in various other companies and organizations. The fonds is divided into 11 series as follows:
Series 1:   Lake and Lake Limited, [ca. 1904]-1971 (predominant 1942-1968)
Series 2:   H.B. Clyde Lake Limited, 1946-1979
Series 3:   The Lake Group (1973) Limited, 1950-1980 (predominant 1975-1980)
Series 4:   The Lake Group (1981) Limited (consolodated companies), 1951-1989
Series 5:   Newfoundland Fisheries Limited, 1920-1990 (predominant 1968-1987)
Series 6:   Shareholders and directorships, 1974-1987
Series 7:   Harold L. Lake, miscellaneous personal papers, 1946-1989
Series 8:   H.B. Clyde Lake, miscellaneous personal papers, 1926-1967
Series 9:   Photographs (removed from this fonds and added to MHA Photograph Catalogue, PF-312. See Harold L. Lake Photograph Collection.)
Series 10:   Architectural and technical drawings, 1948-1988
Series 11:   Cartographic material, 1962-1983
Note: Further description is given at the series level.
Terms Governing Use: Copyright restrictions do apply. The archive provides copies only for the purposes of research and private study. The recipient of the copies is responsible for contacting the copyright holder if the material is to be published.
Associated Material: Harold L. Lake Photograph Collection
Associated Material: Lake and Lake fonds
Custodial History: The records were, for the most part, created by Harold Lake during his career as a businessman. After his death, the records were donated by his wife, Mrs. F.E. Robin Lake in 1994.
Subject: Lake family
Subject: Lake, Harold Bertram Clyde, 1884-1965
Subject: Lake, Harold Leslie, 1919-1994
Subject: Lake, Spencer G., 1916-
Subject: Lake, Harry
Subject: Lake, Harry Russell, 1918-
Subject: Lake and Lake Limited
Subject: H.B. Clyde Lake Limited
Subject: Lake Group of Companies
Subject: Newfoundland Fisheries Limited
Subject: Caribou Fisheries Limited
Subject: Bonavista Cold Storage Company Limited
Subject: Fishery Products International
Subject: Burgeo (N.L.)
Subject: Englee (N.L.)
Subject: Ramea (N.L.)
Subject: Bide Arm (N.L.)
Subject: Bonavista (N.L.)
Subject: Gaultois (N.L.)
Subject: Fermuese (N.L.)
Subject: Grand Bank (N.L.)
Subject: Fortune (N.L.)


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