As discussed in earlier blog posts, the Canadian aerospace industry was growing as early as the First World War. Ontario continued to successfully design and manufacture aerospace products. Avro Canada was founded on the eve of World War II in Malton (which is part of Mississauga today) as a subsidiary of British aircraft company Avro. In 1953, Avro Canada began working on building supersonic engines for the CF-105 plane. Sadly, by the end of the 1950s, the program was shut down and thousands of jobs were lost. The remnants of Avro were bought up by a number of companies, including Canadian firm de Havilland.
Quebec was the primary home of the aerospace industry in Canada, housing giant names like Bombardier (the current owner de Havilland), Mirabel, and Pratt & Whitney Canada. However, these companies grew to build a multitude of facilities in Ontario, where they manufactured various parts and products. Furthermore, even though the largest companies were not headquartered in Ontario, many aerospace parts manufacturers entered the province between the 1950s and the 1980s, including Heroux-Devtek, which makes landing gear, Koss Areospace, Shimco, and Cyclone MFG. Ontario also attracted global power players in the industry, such as Airbus, Honeywell, and Diamond Aircraft. Today, this industry directly employees about 21,000 Ontarians.
Watch for part 13 of the History of Ontario Manufacturing to be published Thursday September 21.