The idea of building a home is appealing. You can dictate the closet size, choose to put an island in the kitchen, maybe even create a whole room dedicated to your love of coffee. But then reality sets in, and you remember not just the cost, but the time it will take to see the project through.

Now imagine what it takes to build a million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center (FC) in just a year. For context, 60 NHL-sized rinks could fit inside the building. In a victory akin to a Stanley Cup win, Montreal-based construction firm Broccolini did just that, building the large facility in a short period of time, a record for the 70-year-old company. Crews of 2,000 workers, many based in the Quebec and Ontario provinces, worked day and night to finish the project in time for Prime Day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the official groundbreaking for the FC in August 2018. Less than a year later, the building, named YOW1, launched operations. The team will ultimately include more than 600 full-time associates.

Full-time associates at Amazon receive competitive hourly wages, medical, vision, and dental coverage, a group registered retirement savings plan, and other benefits. A classroom inside the FC will be the setting for YOW1 associates to access one of Amazon's innovative programs called Career Choice, where the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program's launch, more than 16,000 employees across the globe have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming, and radiology, to name a few.

The new facility will join Amazon's network of current fulfillment centers located in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. Associates at the facility will pick, pack, and ship large items like household decor, sporting equipment, and gardening tools to be delivered to customers throughout Canada. Since 2010, Amazon has invested in Canada more than $6 billion, including infrastructure and compensation, and created more than 10,000 jobs across the country.

More facts about YOW1

  • This is the first FC in Ottawa, Canada's capital city.
  • Amazon calls the facility YOW1 because of its proximity to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW).
  • Broccolini was one of many Canadian companies Amazon partnered with in the construction and launch of the new Canadian FC. It's the builder, developer, landlord, and property manager of the YOW1 facility.
  • Approximately 2,000 construction workers were involved from start to finish, with a peak count of over 350 in a single day.
  • Crews erected 10 million pounds of steel structure and poured 43,000 cubic yards of concrete.