Lee Valley is a family-owned business that has been serving users of woodworking and gardening tools since 1978.
The company is family-owned. The founder, Leonard Lee, was a recipient of the Order of Canada. He founded the company in 1978, in Ottawa, Ontario. Over the next ten years, the company opened several more stores (Toronto, Vancouver) and started manufacturing its own line of tools (starting with the Veritas Dovetail Marker in 1982). Since then, it has continued opening stores, manufacturing more diverse tools, and selling through mail order and the Internet. In 1998, Canica Design was launched. Canica is a medical design company associated with Lee Valley Tools which arose out of consultations between Leonard Lee and surgeon Michael Bell after Lee found that Bell was using Lee Valley tools in his plastic surgery practice.
Their primary business is mail-order and retail, purveying mainly woodworking and gardening tools and equipment, as well as woodworking hardware and gifts. The consumer part of the business runs under the main company name, Lee Valley Tools.
Lee Valley also has a manufacturing arm, called Veritas Tools. Veritas makes many woodworking hand-tools, including hand planes, marking gauges and other measuring tools, router tables, sharpening systems, and numerous other gadgets. Veritas does research and development activities for the factory line, and has developed and patented many innovative designs.
About one third of their total sales volume is in products of their own design. The vast majority of these are Veritas® brand products made by Veritas Tools Inc. They have a research and development team of 11 people and 130 more in manufacturing. And they have a number of customers earning royalties on products that they manufacture based on designs received from them.