About Us

Carl Turkstra

Carl Turkstra


Carl Turkstra led an extraordinary life. As academic trailblazer, an accomplished businessperson and a philanthropic leader who had make an impact here in Hamilton, across Canada, and around the world. Wherever he has set his sights he has made outstanding contributions – to the civil engineering profession nationally and internationally, in business, to the greater Hamilton community, and to the arts.

The first person to be granted a Ph.D. in Engineering by the University of Waterloo in 1963, he created what has become known as Turkstra’s Rule, a probabilistic approach to structural design load risk management to ensure a consistent level of reliability against failure that has become the basis of structural design in building and bridge design codes around the world, including the National Building Code of Canada.

In 1990 at the request of his father, Carl returned to the family business, Turkstra Lumber, to navigate the company through the difficult recession of the 1990s and revitalize the business. With 11 branch locations throughout Southwestern Ontario and two manufacturing plants, Turkstra Lumber has served the community for more than 60 years, employing more than 300 people throughout the region.

In their commitment to the Hamilton community, Carl and his wife Kate Turkstra, began a philanthropic commitment that would rejuvenate and revitalize the artistic community while simultaneously reshaping the Hamilton downtown core itself.

In 2016, Kate and Carl were inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction, “for their contributions to a stronger Hamilton, for their invaluable investments in community arts and education, and for their quiet and humble approach to leadership and philanthropy.”

"Strong cultural institutions are essential for the economic development and quality of life in any community. Hamilton’s major music, art and theatrical organizations as well as the dozens of smaller organizations need and deserve the support of our citizens. I hope that this initiative will incite Hamiltonians to rise in support of their cultural life."