It all began in 1917 with a humble blacksmith operation in Medicine Hat. Now in its fourth generation, our company is still family owned and operated and has evolved to become a leader in Canada’s playground and outdoor recreation industry. We are proud of our history and invite you to browse through our timeline to learn more.
In 1917, Blue Imp founder Simon F. Scott moves to Medicine Hat, Alberta and establishes a blacksmith shop. This involved shoeing horses, sharpening plow shears and fashioning steel rims for horse-drawn wagons. Hours were 6:00am to 9:00pm, six days a week! Known for his ingenuity, S. F. Scott soon invents countless products made of steel and even builds his own machines to get the job done.
In the 1930s and 40s, S.F. Scott shifts to fabricating steel farm implements which were marketed under the trade name Blue Implement. One of his biggest successes was the Tumblebug, a tractor-powered land leveller which he invented and patented. In the 1940s, the Tumblebug was in such great demand that two shifts worked around the clock to keep up with orders. More than 7,000 were sold across Canada and even into Argentina.
Blue Imp's entry into the playground industry began very early on when S. F. Scott was asked to build a teeter-totter and swing set (little knowing that playgrounds would later become the company's sole focus). With materials hard to come by in the depression years, equipment was sometimes built using boiler tubing salvaged from decommissioned steam locomotives. Now that's upcycling!
In the early 1950s, Simon's son, Don, joins the family business. After building playground equipment for a local service club, the company recognizes the potential in this emerging industry. The plant is re-tooled for the manufacture of playground equipment and a pamphlet promoting swings, teeter-tooters and slides is sent out Canada-wide. A point of pride, the company becomes the first to develop the stainless steel spiral slide.
By 1955, manufacturing playground equipment becomes the primary focus for S.F. Scott Co. and the tradename "Blue Imp" is adopted to promote the growing product line. An early pamphlet touts Blue Imp equipment as "unequalled in design and durability" to assure "superior performance and absolute safety". Some things haven't changed! Despite a fire that destroys the plant on February 21, 1957, the enterprise continues to thrive.
As demand for playground equipment grows, Blue Imp continues to develop the product line. New-fangled designs such as the Buck-O-Bronc, Giant Stride, Elephant Climb and Ocean Wave soon gain popularity in communities across Canada. Seated at the end of the Buck-O-Bronc pictured here is a young Don Scott Jr, who would grow up to lead the family firm.
Even as a youngster, Don Scott Jr. spent hours doing odd jobs at the plant. After studying industrial engineering technology and becoming a journeyman welder, he joins the family enterprise full-time in the late 1960s. He and his father work together to continue making Blue Imp a key player in the recreation industry.
In the late 1970s, as market trends shift toward modular wooden structures, Blue Imp transforms the entire design, manufacturing and marketing process. The cedar-based Creative Play format is developed to meet the demand. Once the trend for wood playgrounds passes, steel-based modular formats are designed. Staying on trend is essential to the company's survival and growth.
As the playground industry becomes more complex, S.F. Scott Co. once more upgrades and expands its design and fabrication facilities. A computerized drafting and design department is established, a powder coating line is added, various high-tech CNC machines are purchased and a vinyl-dipping line is installed and more.
The fourth generation of the Scott family to be involved, Stuart Scott joins the company full-time in 1998 after studying mechanical engineering. He works alongside his father before taking over the helm in 2005. During this time period, new products are developed at a breakneck pace. Noteworthy introductions include the award-winning uPlay Series, IMPulse fitness stations and Rootz Nature Series.
Still family-owned and operated and proudly made in Canada, Blue Imp celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. We proudly continue to dream up new play ideas for today's changing market and manufacture our wide selection of playground equipment, park amenities and fitness products at our headquarters in Medicine Hat, Alberta.