General Motors of Canada (McKinnon Industries Limited)

St. Catharine's, Ontario - History

1878: McKinnon and Mitchell Hardware was formed on St. Paul Street making saddlery and wagon hardware.
1888: L. B. McKinnon assumed control under the name McKinnon Dash and Hardware Co.
1900: The plant moved to Ontario Street, tne present Axle Plant site, expanded and became "McKinnon Dash and Metal Work Ltd."
1901: A malleable foundry was added to the plant.
1905: A drop forge shop was erected and manufacture of chain began.
1914: Outbreak of war - saddlery and hardware supplied to Canadian, British and French armies.
1916: Shell and fuse making began in a three-storey building erected at the Axle Plant.
1917: Reorganised under the name "McKinnon Industries Limited".
1918: Chain business sold and McKinnon entered the automobile field,  producing radiators and pioneering production of differential and transmission gears in Canada.
1923: L. E. McKinnon died leaving his estate to be sold.
1925: Messrs. Gideon Grant and Neil Sinclair purchased the company, the new name to be The McKinnon Industries Limited and Mr. B. W. Burtsell became President. Manufacture of rear axles progressed vigorously.
1929: The radiator business was sold to make room for the gear division. On March 29 the company became a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation with Mr. H. J. Carmichael as President and General Manager.
1930: Erection of the Delco building on the east side of Ontario Street and an expansion program began with the manufacture of starting motors, generators, shock absorbers, steering gears and wheel cylinders.
1932: Further expansion to manufacture fractional horsepower motors for washing machines, refrigerators and truck and car transmissions.
1936: W. A. Wecker, became Vice President and General Manager succeeding H. J. Carmichael who was appointed Vice President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada in Oshawa. A Grey Iron foundry was installed to make engine cylinder heads, blocks and brake drums.
1939: World War II - The government called upon McKinnons to produce army 4 wheel drive trucks, percussion fuses, dynamotors, for 2-way radios, fire control mechanism, gyro gun sight motors, torpedo drives, elevating units for 3.7 anti-aircraft guns. Floorspace was doubled.
1943: T. J. Cook was McKinnon President and General Manager succeeding W. A. Wecker who was appointed to President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada, Oshawa.
1944: The manufacturing of anti-friction ball and roller bearings was started.
1945: The Bearing Division was expanded to make parts for agricultural and general machinery industries.
1948: The manufacturing of fuel pumps for Canadian car manufacturers began.
1950: 141 acres of land was acquired to build a new foundry.
1952: The foundry was officially opened having the largest and most modern malleable and grey iron foundry in the British Commonwealth. [CLOSED END OF 1995]
1953: Contract to build an Engine Plant at this site was released on March 31st. Mr. T. J. Cook retired and on April 1st E. H. Walker was appointed President and General Manager. The assembly of radios for cars and trucks was started.
1954: V-8 engines for Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile Rocket engines were made and assembled in the newly completed Engine Plant.
1957: On April 1st E. J. Barbeau was named President and General Manager of The McKinnon Industries Limited succeeding E. H. Walker who was appointed President and General Manager of General Motors of Canada, Oshawa, succeeding W. A. Wecker who retired.
1963: McKinnon’s acquired the Windsor Engine Plant. Inline 6 cylinder production was transferred to St. Catharine's with local transmission production transferred to Windsor. Commercial fractional horsepower motors were transferred to G.M. Diesel, London, Ontario.
1964: As a result of the General Motors deproliferation program and to subsequent approval of the Canada-U.S. Trade Agreement, the 1967 following changes occurred in the product program.
1964: - Radio to Frigidaire, Toronto; Horn to Frigidaire, Toronto; Shock Absorber to Frigidaire, Toronto
1965: - Deletion of Rear Axle Assembly for Buick and Oldsmobile 'B' Car and 1-1/2 Ton Truck; Deletion of Front and Rear Brake Assembly for Buick and Oldsmobile 'B' Car; Front and Rear Brake Drum Assembly for 1-1/2 and 2 Ton Truck.
1966 - Propshaft to Frigidaire; Deletion of Ignition Coil, Voltage Regulator, Distributor, Master Cylinder, and Oldsmobile-Buick Engine Assembly.
1967 - Deletion of Ball and Roller Bearing, Power Steering, Manual Steering.
1965: Administration Building on Glendale Avenue was finished.
1966: Engine Plant tooled for '327' CID VS Engines.
1967: Engine Plant tooled for '307' CID VS Engines (dropped 6 cylinder)
1968: V-8 capacity increased to 2,400 Engines/Day
1969: Engine Plant tooled for '350' CID VS 2/4 Barrel (dropped '283'). McKinnon Industries changed from subsidiary status to become General Motors of Canada Limited, St. Catharine's.E. J. Barbeau was transferred to G.M. Oshawa as Director of Manufacturing Operations. Grosvenor Swift named Area Plant Manager St. Catharines.
1970: Engine tooled for 100% '350' CID VS (dropped '307, 327')
1971: V-8 Engine capacity increased to 2,600 Engines/Day.
1972: Rear Axle capacity increased from 2,400/Day to 2,800/Day with the inclusion of the 6-1/2" 'H' Car Vega Rear Axle. Grosvenor Swift retired. Ivan S. Kaye named Plant Manager, General Motors of Canada Limited, St. Catharine’s.
1973: Rear Axle capacity increased to 3,200/Day.
1974: 7-½ " 'H' Car and 7-½" 'X' Car Axle production added.
1975: Engine Plant began producing '350' and '305' CID VS production with full flexibility.
1978: Rear Axle capacity increased to 3,600/Day. 8-½" G-Van Rear Axles added. Approved to manufacture '267' Cu. In. V-8 at 1,400/Day. Ivan S. Kaye retired. Ron Migus named Manager - St. Catharine's Plants.
1979: Welland Avenue Plant purchased from Columbus McKinnon. Corporation approval for manufacture of THM125C Differential Carrier and Output Shaft for 1981 Model Year at 4,000/Day. Corporation approval to manufacture V6 60 2.8L Engines at 1,600/Day and V-8 4.4 & 5.0 Litre ('267' and '305' CID) Engines for 1982. Corporate approval to convert Starting Motor production from 10MT to 5MT at 5,000/Day capacity.
1980: Full production of Delcotrons and Starting Motors at the Welland Avenue Plant. Capacity increase on '267' CID Engines from 1,400 - 1,800/Day. Corporate approval to manufacture THM440T4 Final Drive Assembly and Output Shaft at 10,000/Day for 1983 Model Year. Corporate approval to manufacture 1983-½ 'B-C' Drive Axle Shaft Forgings at 4,250/Day (revised to 'C' Car only at 2,400/Day).
1981: Corporate approval to manufacture 1983-1/2 'B-C' Independent Rear Suspension at 5,000/Day (revised to 'C' Car only at 2,400/Day). Corporate approval to manufacture 1983 Commercial C-10, G-10-20 Truck Front Suspension at 2,700/Day (revised to 1,600/Day C-10 only). Corporate approval to make all Oldsmobile forgings. Corporate approval to provide R.W.D. V6 600 engine flexibility. Mr. F. Allan Smith is replaced as President & General Manager of G.M. of Canada by James Rinehart on January 5, 1981. Mr. Smith becomes an Executive Vice-President in charge of finance.1982 Donald E. Hackworth becomes President & General Manager of General Motors of Canada Limited on January 1, 1982 replacing James R. Rinehart who resigned. Delcotron and Starting Motor production was transferred from Welland Avenue to U.S.A. GM Fanuc Robotics Corporation formed.
1983: Corporate approval of C.V.T. Differential Carrier assembly. NUMMI, a joint venture with Toyota formed. General Motors 75th Anniversary
1984: Donald E. Hackworth becomes General Manager of Buick on January 10th , 1984 and John F. Smith Jr. becomes President & General Manager G.M. of Canada Limited. Mr. Smith was formerly Director of Worldwide Product Planning. North American Passenger Car Operations reorganized into CPC-BOC. October 18th General Motors acquires Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Corporate approval to change 2.8L V6 to TBI for SIT truck and MPFI for passenger cars with aluminum heads. Automotive Component Group (ACG) Divisions established strategic business units by product line.
1985: Corporate approval to make GM-10 Front & Rear Disc Brakes. Corporate approval to make 'C/H' Car leading trailing brakes.Corporate approval to make 5.7 Litre V-8 truck engines. General Motors forms Saturn Corporation in January. December 31 General Motors acquires Hughes Aircraft Company.
1986: Corporate approval to make 8-1/2" 'C/K' Rear Axles for trucks at 1,500/Day. George A. Peapples becomes President & General Manager of General Motors of Canada Limited February 3, 1986 replacing John F. Smith Jr. who becomes Executive Vice President - Operations & Engineering General Motors Europe - Passenger Cars. Manufacture of ground and cast aluminum pistons set up in the Welland Avenue Plant. Ground pistons transferred from Engine Plant. Cast pistons - completely new installation. General Motors acquires Group Lotus PLC. GM/Volvo joint venture formed to market heavy-duty trucks. GM of Canada/Suzuki joint venture formed.
1987: Corporate approval to make 3.1 Litre V-6 Engines. Corporate approval to make F-7 Final Drive & Output Shaft. Corporate approval to make GM-10 Rear Brakes & Front Rotors. Robert C. Stempel replaces F. James McDonald as Corporation President.
1988: Corporate approval to make 3.4 Litre V-6 Engine. Corporate approval to convert 440 transmission to F-31 design.
1989: Built last V-6 2.8 Litre Engine. Began building V-6 3.1 Litre APV and W-Car (Buick Regal, Chevrolet Lumina) Engine. The St. Catharine's Plants are realigned into Strategic Business Units (SBU's) as part of the Automotive Components Group (ACG). The St. Catharine's Plants continue to report through the GM of Canada operating structure, but work closely with the planning and operational groups of the SBU's who have engineering and sourcing responsibility for the St. Catherine's factories' products. St. Catharine's Plants are affected as follows:
Foundry aligned to Central Foundry Division - Engine SBU Engine Plant reports to CPC.
Axle Plant aligned to Saginaw Division - Final Drive and Forge
Hydra-matic Division - Automatic Transmission
Delco Moraine - Wheel Brake
A.C. Rochester - Spark Plug
1990: Start of Production - V-6 3.4 Litre DOHC Engine. The Axle Plant is officially renamed to Components Plant.


Download the web's best free website templates at