Assembly of Consolidated 'Canso' A flying boat at Canadian Vickers
Ltd., Montreal, P.Q., April 1944.
Photo : National Film Board
The War Economy and Controls: Aircraft Production
During the Second World War, the Canadian aircraft industry grew to
employ nearly 116,000 workers, 30,000 of whom were women. It
delivered 16,418 aircraft to fill Allied orders, chiefly from
Britain and the United States, but also for use by the and . Before the war, there had been only eight small plants in the
entire country, making about forty aeroplanes annually.
The federal government was the industry's parent and guardian angel.
The Aircraft Production Branch of the Department of Munitions and
Supply sought out orders. Crown companies, Victory Aircraft Limited
and Federal Aircraft Limited, were created to ensure speedy and
efficient production. Sub-contracts for aircraft parts went to firms
with no experience in aircraft manufacture, such as Cockshutt Plow
of Brantford, Ont., which made hydraulics, and Otaco Limited of
Orillia, Ont., which designed and manufactured undercarriages. The
famous Avro Lancaster bomber rolled off the assembly line at Malton,
Ont., now the site of Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
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