Canada Wire and Cable Company was the first industry to locate in Leaside. In 1914, it contracted to manufacture 9.2 inch shells for World War I, so it purchased a sizeable acreage in the new Town of Leaside and formed the Leaside Munitions Company for production of the shells. After the war ended, the plants of the latter company stood idle for a while until the Durant Motor Company took over to produce the Durant and Star cars and Rugby trucks. This company ceased operations when the Great Depression set in, just a little over ten years later.
By this time, the production of the Canada Wire and Cable Company had increased so substantially that it was able to take over the remaining buildings and added some. In 1959, the vertical continuous vulcanizing extruder tower was built, allowing the rubber around the cable to mold evenly as it was vertically dropped. This was installed to improve the quality of large size thermosetting insulated cables. Well into the 1960s, Canada Wire and Cable was continuing to expand across Canada, leading to reorganization and development during the 1970s, with the updating of facilities in full process. The work force reached 2,700 employees by 1978, with annual sales of 100 million. In the 1990s, Alcatel, a French company, which started life a hundred years earlier as a electric utility and is now a major player in the high tech industry, bought Canada Wire and Cable, by then a division of Noranda Inc. Alcatel moved its operations from Leaside to Markham in 1996 and sold the Leaside property. The buildings were demolished in 1999. For a while the vulcanizing extruder tower was left standing as a memento of this early enterprise, but it was demolished in 2002. .
For more about the industries and people of Leaside see “Leaside” Jane Pitfield editor.
Canada Wire, lower half
Leaside Airfield buildings, upper left
Wicksteed Ave., lower left