General Motors in Oshawa: Deep ties spanned more than a century
The sprawling General Motors plant in Oshawa, just south of Highway 401, casts an imposing shadow.
GM Canada was the single biggest employer in the city, and the company and its employees donated millions to local causes.
But the story of the company and its host city runs much deeper. The two have been intertwined for over a century:
1876: McLaughlin Carriage Company is founded by Robert McLaughlin in Tyrone, Ontario, and then expanded to Oshawa.
1899: A fire destroys the company’s factory in Oshawa. Fifteen other municipalities offer the company financial assistance to relocate the factory, but the McLaughlin family is determined to stay in Oshawa. The city offers the company a $50,000 loan that is repayable at their convenience.
1908: The McLaughlin Motor Car Company is established, but it fails to produce an original automobile because the chief engineer falls ill. The company enters into a partnership with Buick and, using their engine, begins production of its own vehicle, called the McLaughlin-Buick.
1915: The company enters into a similar agreement with Chevrolet.
1918: The business is purchased by General Motors and incorporated as General Motors of Canada. McLaughlin stays on as president to run the business.
1937: The United Automobile Workers of Canada is founded and recognized after a strike involving more than 4,000 workers.
1953: The Oshawa Assembly for General Motors becomes one of six locations to build Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick vehicles.
1980s: General Motors in its peak employs about 23,000 people in Oshawa.
2005: General Motors shuts down 12 factories, including a secondary plant in Oshawa, putting 3,750 people out of a job.
2008: The Canadian, Ontario and U.S. governments provide a $60 billion bailout package to General Motors, as the recession takes a toll on the auto industry in North America.
2009: Oshawa’s truck plant is shut down along with three other North American plants, ending 90 years of truck manufacturing in Canada.
2010: The Oshawa Assembly Plant begins to build the Chevrolet Equinox.
2012: General Motors announces its plans to close a consolidated plant in Oshawa, which eliminates 2,000 jobs.
2014: The company is recognized as the most complex facility in North America for its capability of producing both cars and trucks in the same plant.
2015: The plant received the Jessica Markland Partnership award from the Region of Durham for its co-operative efforts to enhance the environment.
2018: The plant begins to produce the 2018 Light Duty GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado double cab pick-up trucks.
November 26, 2018: General Motors announces it will be closing the Oshawa car assembly plant.