I found this can opener in a box of old metal junk I bought for a buck at a yard sale yesterday. It was made by Newell and patented in 1935.
The Alymer Canning and Evaporating Company was founded in the town of Aylmer, Ontario in 1879. (In 1835 the community was named after Matthew Whitworth-Aylmer, 5th Baron Aylmer, the Governor General of Canada, whose incompetence in the rôle contributed to his recall and probably to the subsequent Lower Canada rebellion of 1837.) By 1881, the factory employed 100 workers and occupied over an acre of land and included a tin shop, canning house, produce house, and evaporating house. Initially, the company packed peas, beans, cider, pickles, vinegar and sauces. Ten years later, it had become the third largest plant of its kind in Canada. In 1903, 30 Ontario factories amalgamated to form Canadian Canners Limited. Seven years later, further 60 companies were amalgamated for form Dominion Canners. In 1916, the condensed milk operation was sold to Carnation. In 1923, the company once again became known as Canadian Canners. In 1940, the Aylmer plant became the first in Canada to produce frozen food using Clarence Birdseye's process. In 1956, California-based Del Monte bought the firm, closing the Aylmer canning operations in 1959, and the entire plant in 1962. The plant was subsequently demolished in 1968. This was the beginning of a trend. The Del Monte and Aylmer brands were acquired by CanGro in 2006. As Thomas Walkom wrote in the Toronto Star in 2008:
"The 112-year-old CanGro Foods plant at St. Davids near Niagara Falls produces canned pears and peaches under the Aylmer, Ideal and Del Monte labels. CanGro will continue to sell Aylmer, Ideal and Del Monte tinned fruit in Canada. But the fruit itself will no longer come from this country.
News of the St. Davids closure came just three weeks after CanGro closed its vegetable canning plant in Exeter, north of London. Here, too, CanGro will continue to market canned vegetables in Canada under its various brands. But the vegetables themselves will come from abroad.
Both had been part of the Kraft Foods stable. But, in 2006, two U.S. private capital funds specializing in leveraged buyouts (using borrowed money to buy companies and then wringing savings from these acquisitions to pay off the loans) created CanGro to purchase Kraft's five canneries in Canada.
What seems clear now is that CanGro was interested less in the canneries themselves than in the profitable brand names that went with them. Of the five plants the company purchased, only one – a tomato cannery in Dresden, north of Chatham – remains.
Good things grow in Ontario. Just try to find them."
The St. David's site is now "Cannery Park," distinctive Semis and Singles from the $290's." Let them eat brick.
In 2007, Quebec-based Baxters Canada Inc. purchased the Aylmer Soup business from CanGro Foods.
|Elgin County Archives, Robert Moore Postcard Collection|