American Can Company

(1904) Karma Candy

If you look east along the railway tracks near the corner of Victoria Avenue and Birge Street you can see the old red brick plant of the American Can Company. You can get a closer look at this building by turning right down Shaw Street.

In 1904, the American Can Company of Greenwich, Connecticut bought the small Norton Can Company that had operated since 1887 at York and Bay Streets. The company expanded further in 1908 when it bought the Sanitary Can Company of Niagara Falls and the Acme Can Works in Montreal. The company soon outgrew its downtown plant and in 1911 built a new larger factory here at Shaw and Emerald Streets. For many years, the American Can Company was Canada’s largest producer of tin cans. The company purchased much of the tinplate for its local canning operations from Stelco and Dofasco.

In 1959, the company began moving its operations to the former Sawyer-Massey plant a few blocks away. The company briefly came under Canadian ownership in 1984, when it was purchased by the Toronto-based Onex Packaging Inc. In 1988, the Victoria Avenue plant became Ball Packaging Products Canada, a subsidiary of the Ball Corporation of Muncie, Indiana. Until 1998, workers at this plant were organized into one of the few independent unions still directly chartered to the Canadian Labour Congress. In recent years, this plant continued to operate as a candy factory under Karma Candy.