Research Road in Leaside is named for a short-lived but amazingly productive high technology war industry company named Research Enterprises Limited (REL). Occupying 55 acres southeast of Eglinton and Laird, REL at its peak it employed over 7,500 people in buildings covering 750,000 sq. ft of engineering and manufacturing plants. It produced an incredible $220, million worth of high technology radio machinery and precision optical instruments in its six short years. Little remains, just a few red brick buildings on Eglinton and on Research Road. Incorporated on July 16,1940, and closed in September, 1946, Research Enterprises was the largest single employer ever to operate in Leasid. War conditions gave Canadians a chance to show they were among the world’s best in establishing a high technology facility and at maintaining very high production volumes throughout the war. Noteworthy was the equal staffing of men and women, with the latter providing most of the inspection staff.
At the end of the war, in 1946, the government sold off many of the Crown Corporations developed to support the war effort including REL. Many of the skilled staff returned to their pre-war employment or moved on to careers in electronics.
For more about the industries and people of Leaside see “Leaside” Jane Pitfield editor.