MANUFACTURING PROFILES

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There is lots of gloom and doom in the news around manufacturing these days. It seems that hardly a day goes by without a story about a plant closure. Yet, the reality on the ground is very different. It turns out there are lots of innovative Ontario manufacturers that are operating successfully below the radar. A team of student researchers visited a number of Ontario manufacturing ‘success’ stories. Here are the students’ profiles of the firms they visited and the people they met.

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Thomas Canning

Century eggs, moon cakes, instant dan dan noodles—and organic canned tomatoes with a maple leaf label? Walking down a grocery aisle in China, it is hard not to be surprised by the “Made in Canada” label in a sea of Chinese characters and flavours. However, this unique positioning is precisely why Thomas Canning (Maidstone) Ltd.,

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Sweets from the Earth

“Sweet. Natural. Sinfully delicious.” Welcome to Sweets from the Earth, a North York family business manufacturing delicious vegan baked goods. President and founder Ilana Kadonoff emphasizes the company’s joint passion for social responsibility and decadent treats. Even the names of the products—lavender cupcakes, goji superstuff cookies, apple beet muffins, chocolate zucchini loaves, organic Medjool date

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Ontario Drive & Gear Ltd.

A thousand kilometres north into Hudson Bay, the entire world is blinding white, with tints of blue and grey. Suddenly, a flash of colour appears on the horizon. Steadily making its way across the ice is an ARGO, a special kind of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) manufactured by Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) of New Hamburg,

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Mabel’s Labels

Although the manufacturing sector is rarely associated with the words “cute” or “mommy,” both terms are key descriptors for Hamilton-based Mabel’s Labels, a company that designs, manufactures, and distributes custom labels for children’s clothing and accessories. Mabel’s Labels targets modern busy mothers, offering a wide array of colours, patterns, fonts, and styles. Customized labels are

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Givens Engineering Inc.

In 1992, Swiss-based automation and power technologies company ABB Ltd. shuttered its massive plant in London, Ontario. Nearly 500 employees were laid off. Ray Givens was one of them. Even as a professional engineer with a master’s degree and more than six years’ industrial experience, Givens struggled to find a job. With no other prospects

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Canada Stampings Ltd.

The history-filled boardroom of Canada Stampings Ltd. gives visitors a clear sense of the Southwestern Ontario manufacturing firm’s extensive heritage. The metal stamping company’s past, present, and future are inextricably tied to the community of Woodstock, Ontario—and to all of Canada. It is not every day, for instance, that one sees a beribboned seal denoting

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