Then-and-Now 

NEW

TORONTO

Continental Can Company

of Canada Ltd.

Photo Description. PHOTO CREDITS

The Continental Can Company of Canada was officially incorporated in September 1935. The firm selected New Toronto as a factory site that resulted from the careful considerations, surveys, and the help of the New Toronto town officials.

The ground for the building in Birmingham Street was broken in January 1936 and the first shipment of cans was made five months after. The construction started in winter and according to the New Toronto Souvenir Booklet of 1963, it was the most unusual event, as construction industry usually closed down during the winter. 

“Local citizens marveled when they heard about cement being poured by construction workers in their shirt sleeves, so warm was it within the tarpaulin-covered walls, which had been created to enclose the entire building structure.”

As a part of the New Toronto community, Continental and its 900 employees have played the most active part in the improvement of the area. The factory had the best safety training program during the 1960s. The mock fire drills to test its fire safety procedures reflected the continuous emphasis of the company to safety and health care. The business also helped the Red Cross and for several years arranged regular blood donor clinics in its plant as well as provided refreshments, working space, cartage and more importantly provided time for its employees to participate. Continental was the first industry in New Toronto to reach a million or more man hours worked without a disabling injury (from September 1960 to April 1962).

The plant was eventually taken over by Crown, Cork & Seal, an American company that makes metal beverage and food cans, metal aerosol containers, metal closures and specialty packing. In the early 1990’s, the plant was demolished. 

The site was sold in 2003 to the Toronto Police Service for a Firearms/Defensive Tactics and Applicant Testing Facility and around in 2009, became the New Toronto Police College.

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