The early years

DVI Lighting was founded in 1968 by Adam Altenberg, a holocaust survivor who brought his family to Montreal from war-ravaged Europe. At the time, the company was called Dominion Ventures and it sold lighting parts to the many lighting manufacturers in the Montreal area. Operating out of a small warehouse, the company specialized in selling the components necessary to make a light rather than the complete lighting fixture Dominion Ventures was developing an expertise of knowing lighting “from the inside out” and offered a complete, North American made line of parts to offer to the trade. At the time, most Canadian homes were decorated with Canadian-made lighting produced by relatively small manufacturers, and Montreal was the centre of the home furnishing industry in Canada.

By the mid-1970’s, The FLQ crisis and the increased flow of immigrants to Toronto both impacted on the emergence of a home furnishings industry outside of Montreal. Toronto had become the new manufacturing centre of Canada and so Dominion Ventures rented a small warehouse in a run-down section of downtown Toronto at John and Adelaide Streets.

Adam Altenberg, now joined by Sam Wineberg and David Elman, operated the same business out of the Montreal and Toronto locations through the 1970’s and 80’s. Adding new capabilities on over the years, Dominion Ventures retained a brisk business servicing the lighting manufacturers in Toronto, Montreal and a few in Manitoba & Western Canada.

First Steps as a Residential Lighting Distributor

In 1997, Dominion Ventures changed its name to DVI Lighting to reflect its new persona as a distributor of lighting fixtures. At first, chandeliers were manufactured in Canada, but it became quickly apparent to owners Sam Wineberg and David Elman that manufacturing in Canada was unrealistic given the price points of lighting being sold in the marketplace. To survive production had to move offshore, and slowly, the DVI line became a line of imported designs developed in Chinese factories. Training the Chinese manufacturer’s that quality had to take priority over mass production was an endemic problem then as it is now, but as the relationships strengthened between the Canadian designers and the Chinese manufacturers a harmonious relationship developed which continues to this day. DVI’s first home grown designs hit the market in 1999, blending fashionable design with pricing competitive to mass produced imports. This earned DVI a firm place in the marketplace as one of the few Canadian lighting brands that designed its own products for the market rather than shopping in offshore factories.

The New Millenium

During the early years of the 2000’s DVI emerged as one of the major players in the Canadian residential lighting marketplace and moved into the ultra-competitive US market seeking further growth. Now reaching out to lighting showrooms not only in Canada but into regions of the United States, DVI was selling products across North America and competing head-to-head with the major American brands for market share.  Focusing on its successes in the Canadian marketplace as a brand featuring high-end quality at middle level pricing Creative Directors Jan Kulhanek and Robert Borg worked with a group of amazing young designers to refine a style of design that followed trends closely while striving to maintain a quality for value price point. Over a two-decade period the DVI design team brought to market over five hundred new lighting collections for the North American marketplace, millions of which still light homes from coast to coast.

dVI Lighting today

In 2018, DVI celebrated its 50th anniversary. DVI retains a North American sales team with over 60 commissioned sales representatives, 1000 brick and mortar showroom partners and numerous web retailers from Alaska to Newfoundland, Puerto Rico to California. Operating out of a head office on the edge of Toronto, DVI occupies over 100,000 square feet of space, and ships to North American brick and mortar showrooms and, through its web partners, to online customers North America every day.

With Robert Borg as President, the company continues to build upon its three founding principles. DVI retains its commitment to annual design cycles keeping the product line fresh and in fashion with current looks and trends. We continue to invest in inventory to maintain so that retailers feel confident in DVI to have the product when they need it. Finally, we still believe in the philosophy that middle-class families should see value for the quality offered and feel that a DVI light fixture has value more than its price tag. 

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