Aylmer Canning Factory Courtesy photo of Elgin County Archives.
The Aylmer Canning Factory was first established in 1879 in Aylmer Ontario. It was sold to partners Marshall and Nairn who took the company to new heights! According to a 1891 census, it was the third largest such plant in Canada! Aylmer Canning Factory was eventually sold to Del Monte where you can still purchase canned goods today!
The Aylmer Canning and Evaporating Company important to the Town of Aylmer, and to Canada having been in jointly operated for over 75 years by partners David Marshall, Jehiel Yorke, Duncan Ferguson, George Walker, Thomas Nairn, George Goodfallow, and Richard White. This group of men were farmers, council members, and business men.
The plant was built between South and Harvey Streets, west of Fourth Ave. (Corner of Fourth Avenue and South Street) and opened in July of 1881 consisting of four buildings on over an acre of land. The factory was made up of a Tin Shop, a Canning House, a Produce House, and an Evaporating House.
The factory employed 100 people in it's first summer and packed peas, and beans and the following year added cider, pickles, vinegar, and sauces. In 1883, only it's third year of operation, talks began to expand the factory. The residents of Aylmer supported the expansion and soon the factory would be adding meats and fruits to be processed and created 70 more jobs. By 1891 the Aylmer Canners was the third largest plant of its kind when it came to number of employees and amount of capital invested!
In 1892, David Marshall partnered with George Allworth (of Detroit) to build a condensed milk and cream evaporating plant in Aylmer's North Section - the first of it's kind! With orders pouring in from Western Canada, Europe, Australia, and China they soon couldn't keep up with orders and began operating 24 hours a day! Marshall purchased the Condensed Milk Company from Allworth and included it under the Aylmer Canners after expanding the Canner's plant on Fourth Street into the empty Furniture Factory building to the west.
In 1903 Marshall amalgamated 30 factories within Ontario to form the Canadian Canners Ltd. This was thought to solve many problems because trade for each canning company was suffering as exports were not increasing and the smaller plants couldn't afford to do it individually. Unfortunately Aylmer's location suffered most of all as the all the other plants were not as experienced as the Aylmer location, and Aylmer was designated the Canadian Canners Number 1 plant.
In 1907 the Condensed Milk expanded once again with the construction of a $60,000 brick plant but by 1910, Canadian Canners Ltd was forced to consolidate once again to include 60 companies to form Dominion Canners which relocated to a new brick $120,000 plant west of Myrtle Street in Aylmer, the largest of it's kind in Canada.
The Founding of Aylmer
The History of Aylmer
Quick Look - A Timeline of Aylmer's History
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Heritage Places Television Episode
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