Part 6: Growth of The Manufacturing Giants

As a result of the advantages that Canada offered, in 1904, Gordon M. McGregor established the Ford Motor Company of Canada (Ford Canada) in Windsor, Ontario (then called Walkerville), directly across the river from the company’s American home in Detroit. Because of the trade rules at the time, Ford Canada was a completely separate company from the original U.S. company (Ford U.S.), but the 12 original Ford shareholders owned 51 per cent of Ford Canada and Henry Ford held 13 per cent of the shares himself. Ford Canada licensed the name and all patents from Ford U.S., and the business was a massive success, selling the classic Ford Model T across Canada and much of the English-speaking world. Similarly, in 1908, Colonel R.S. McLaughlin formed the McLaughlin Motor Car Company in Oshawa—a firm that ultimately merged into General Motors of Canada Ltd. in 1918.

In addition to the founding of these major automotive companies, the late 1800s and early 1900s saw the creation of a number of Canadian subsidiaries of other American giants. Most notably, General Electric’s founder, Thomas Edison, founded the company’s Canadian subsidiary in Peterborough, Ontario in 1891. Its first major contract was producing the electronic equipment for the Toronto Street Railway in 1892, and the firm soon opened facilities across both the province and country.     

Read part 7 of The History Of Ontario’s Manufacturing Industry here.

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