Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry (CC&F) also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market. CC&F history goes back to 1897, but the main company was established in 1909 from an amalgamation of several companies and later became part of Hawker Siddeley Canada through the purchase by A.V. Roe Canada in 1957. Today the remaining factories are part of Bombardier Transportation Canada.
Canadian Car & Foundry (CC&F) was established in 1909 in Montreal as the result of an amalgamation of three companies:
- Rhodes Curry Company of Amherst, NS - founded 1891
- Canada Car Company of Turcot, QC - founded 1905
- Dominion Car and Foundry of Montreal, QC
In 1911 the CC&F Board of Directors recognized that the company could improve its efficiency if they were able to produce their own steel castings, a component that was becoming common to all their products. They purchased Montreal Steel Works Limited at Longue Pointe, QC, the largest producer of steel castings in Canada, and the Ontario Iron & Steel Company, Ltd. at Welland, ON, which included both a steel foundry and a rolling mill.
Buses were produced at Fort William, Ontario and railcars in Montreal and Amherst. Streetcars were manufactured between 1897 and 1913, however the company focused exclusively on rebuilding existing streetcars after 1913.
A few years later, CC&F acquired the assets of Pratt & Letchworth, a Brantford, ON, rail car manufacturer. In the latter part of World War I, the expanding company opened a new plant in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) to manufacture rail cars and ships which included the French minesweepers Inkerman and Cerisoles which were both lost in Lake Superior; the Amherst plant started by Rhodes & Curry in Amherst was closed in 1931. In an attempt to enter the aviation market, CC&F produced a small series of Grumman fighter aircraft under licence and developed an unsuccessful, indigenous-designed fighter aircraft, the Gregor FDB-1.
The First World War
During World War I, CC&F had signed large contracts with Russia and Britain for delivery of ammunition. An enormous factory was constructed in the Kingsland to assemble, package, and prepare artillery shells for shipment to foreign ports. No shells were manufactured there. On January 11, 1917, a fire started in one of the buildings. In four hours, the fire spread to the approximately 500,000 pieces of 76.2 mm (3 inch) -high explosive shells stored there, causing several explosions, destroying the entire plant. The explosion launched artillery shells and building debris across the area, destroying several homes and businesses in the nearby towns of Haskell, Pompton Lakes, and Midvale. The total loss, including the ordnance, was estimated at $16,750,000 (equivalent to $318 million in 2016).
The Second World War
By 1939, with war on the horizon, Canadian Car & Foundry and its Chief Engineer, Elsie MacGill, were contracted by the Royal Air Force to produce the Hawker Hurricanes (Mark X, XI and XII). Refinements introduced by MacGill on the Hurricane included skis and de-icing gear. When the production of the Hurricane was complete in 1943, CC&F's workforce of 4,500 (half of them women) had built over 1,400 aircraft, about 10% of all Hurricanes built.
Following the success of the Hurricane contract, CC&F sought out and received a production order for the troublesome Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. Eventually, 834 Helldivers were produced by CC&F in various versions from SBW-1, SBW-1B, SBW-3,SBW-4E and SBW-5. Some of the Curtiss divebombers were sent directly to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease arrangements. CC&F also built the North American AT-6 Texan/Harvard under licence, many of the aircraft being supplied to European air forces to train post war military pilots.
In 1944, the Canadian Car & Foundry built a revolutionary new aircraft in its Montreal shops - the Burnelli CBY-3, also called the Loadmaster. There were two examples built of an aerofoil-fuselage design originally developed by Vincent J. Burnelli. The CBY-3 was never to enter full-scale production and was cancelled less than one year later.
The work of Canadian women building fighter and bomber aircraft at the plant during the Second World War is documented in the 1999 National Film Board of Canada documentary film Rosies of the North.
After the Second World War, the CC&F returned to its roots as a rail car manufacturer. They also made a successful leap into the streetcar business, supplying Montreal, Toronto, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo with various types of streetcars. The company concluded a licensing agreement with ACF-Brill (the successor to J. G. Brill) in 1944 to manufacture and sell throughout Canada buses and trolley coaches of ACF-Brill design as Canadian Car-Brill, in later years often written "CCF-Brill", for short. CC&F built 1,114 trolley buses and a few thousand buses under the name. Trolleybus production ended in 1954; Edmonton Transit System's No. 202, a 1954 CCF-Brill T48A, was the very last Brill trolleybus built for any city.
Production of the Brill diesel bus continued through the 1950s. In 1960, CC&F launched an entirely new TD bus design under the Canadian Car name to compete with the General Motors New Look model, but it was not successful and production was discontinued in 1962.
In 1957, wishing to diversify, the British Hawker Siddeley Group acquired CC&F through its Canadian subsidiary, A.V. Roe Canada Ltd.. In 1962, A.V. Roe Canada was dissolved when the Avro Arrow program was suddenly terminated, and its assets became part of Hawker Siddeley Canada. During the 1970s they introduced the BiLevel Coach heavy railway passenger car, which would go on to great success.
CCF re-emerged as Can-Car Rail in 1983 as a joint division between Hawker Siddeley Canada and UTDC. The Can-Car Rail operations were based in Thunder Bay. Sold to SNC-Lavalin in 1986, a financial shakeup led to the firm being returned to the Government of Ontario, and then quickly re-sold to Bombardier Transportation. Through a series of further acquisitions, mergers and rationalisations, CC&F faded from the annals of significant Canadian manufacturers, although the company still exists today as the Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. railcar facility in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
- CCF-Brill 44S motor bus (under license)
- CCF-Brill T44/T44A trolley bus (under license), 1946–54
- CCF-Brill T48/T48A/T48SP trolley bus (under license), 1949-54
- CN electric multiple units for use in Montreal
- Presidents' Conference Committee Car A6 SE DT
- Presidents' Conference Committee Car A7 SE DT
- Presidents' Conference Committee Car A8 SE DT
- Small Peter Witt cars with Ottawa Car Company
- Large Peter Witt car and trailers with J. G. Brill and Company
- Tanks for World War II
- cars for the Intercolonial Railway
- cars for the Grand Trunk Railway
- cars for the Grand Trunk Pacific
- cars for the Canadian Northern Railways
- cars for the Canadian Pacific Railway
- cars for the Canadian National Railways (some later operated by Via Rail or Rocky Mountaineer)
- bi-level cars for GO Transit - with Hawker Siddeley Canada and SNC Lavalin
- Grumman G23 Goblin/SF built under license)
- Gregor FDB-1
- Canadian Car and Foundry Maple Leaf Trainer II
- Hawker Hurricane (under license)
- SBW Helldiver (under license)
- CC&F CBY-3 Loadmaster
- Canadian Car and Foundry Harvard Mk 4 (production rights to the North American T-6 family were sold to CC&F post war)
- Beechcraft T-34 Mentor (under license)
- British Columbia Electric Railway
- Canadian Northern Railways
- Canadian Pacific Railway
- Canadian National Railways
- Chambly Transport
- Edmonton Transit System
- Grand Trunk Railway
- Hamilton Street Railway
- Intercolonial Railway
- Nova Scotia Light and Power Company, Limited
- Ottawa Transportation Commission
- Quebec Railway, Light and Power Company (later Québec Autobus, post–1959)
- Société de transport de Montréal
- Toronto Transportation Commission
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Many CC&F-built buses have been preserved as historic vehicles, some in operating condition. For example, the Transit Museum Society, in Vancouver, has at least seven CC&F buses in its collection, including two CC&F-Brill trolleybuses.
- J. G. Brill and Company
- Preston Car Company
- Ottawa Car Company
- Niles Car and Manufacturing Company
- American Car and Foundry
- "Welcome to Saskrailmuseum.org." Archived October 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Sask Power Car, September 11, 2008. Retrieved: 3 October 2008.
- "Kingsland N.J. Fire Loss is $16,750,000". The Sun. New York City. January 13, 1917. p. 4. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- "The Kingsland Explosion". Lyndhurst Historical Society. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- "Kingsland and Haskell Disasters". Safety Engineering. 33 (1): 28–32. January 1917.
- Saxberg, Kelly (director). Rosies of the North (Documentary film on the wartime role of women workers at Fort William) National Film Board of Canada, 1999. Retrieved: 23 July 2012.
- Pigott, Peter (2002). Wings across Canada an illustrated history of Canadian aviation. Toronto, Ontario: Dundurn Press. p. 81. ISBN 9781554883790.
- "Rosies of the North". Documentary film. National Film Board of Canada. 1999. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Porter, Harry and Stanley F.X. Worris. Trolleybus Bulletin No. 109: Databook II, 1979, pp. 63–64. Louisville, Kentucky: North American Trackless Trolley Association (defunct).
- Trolleybus Magazine No. 283, January–February 2009, p. 11. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
- "The Historic Bus Fleet." Transit Museum Society, 2009. Retrieved: 7 April 2010.