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McCormick Mfg. Co. (Plaque no. 35)

McCormick Mfg. Co.

Location on Google Maps: 1156 Dundas Street, London

Take a tour of the McCormick Manufacturing Company on Historypin

Date of plaque unveiling:  October 9, 1991

Speaker:  John Lutman

McCormick Manufacturing Company photograph

Photo credit: Ivey Family London Room, Central Library, 251 Dundas Street, London,  London, Canada The Forest City.  London, 1919

History

In 1854, Thomas McCormick established a biscuit and confectionery manufacturing business on Clarence Street. Success attended his enterprise, which soon outgrew the original plant, forcing a move to larger quarters at the southeast corner of Dundas and Wellington streets. The business gained a reputation for the quality and taste of its biscuits and candies, and increased demand for these products necessitated another move.

To encourage industries to locate in the newly-serviced plots in the east end, City Council offered fixed-rate taxes and temporary tax exemptions. McCormick’s benefited from these incentives and moved to 1156 Dundas Street in 1914.

Years of study had gone into the new factory’s design, and many features were suggested by Thomas McCormick Junior, based on knowledge he had gained from visiting facilities in the United States and other countries. His new plant was one of the largest, most modern and sanitary factories of its kind in North America. The building was constructed of fireproof, reinforced concrete, and covered more than eight acres. The interior was finished with white enamel terra cotta.

Prior to the First World War public concern about the purity of processed food prompted the government to increase its scrutiny of food manufacturing. McCormick’s shiny clean appearance inside and out reflected the company’s hygienic manufacturing process.

This responsible attitude was also extended to labour relations, unusual in an era when sweatshops were common. Employee amenities included large dining rooms, gymnasium, library, locker rooms, medical facilities and rest rooms. Outside were tennis courts and a baseball diamond.

In 1926, McCormick’s purchased its competitor, D.S. Perrin and Company Ltd., and in the 1940’s was itself sold to George Weston Ltd. In 1990, the business was acquired by Culinar Foods of Montreal, and in 1997 by Beta Brands Inc. who closed the factory ten years later in January 2007.

McCormick Manufacturing Company

Photo credit:  PG O 15, Ivey Family London Room, Central Library, 251 Dundas Street, London