A.V. Roe Canada – Fast Facts
A.V. Roe had a long history of aircraft manufacture in Great Britain prior to coming to Canada.
The company came to Canada in December 1945 to take advantage of the trained aviation labour force left unemployed with shut down of aircraft production at the conclusion of World War Two.
A.V. Roe Canada Ltd was a subsidiary of the Hawker Siddeley Group of Great Britain, which owned 60%.
The company grew to be the third largest employer in Canada by 1959, employing some 14,300 people at the time of the cancellation of the Arrow.
Employees, confident in the future of A.V. Roe invested heavily in the company only to lose everything when the Arrow program was suddenly terminated.
Avro Aircraft, which built the Jetliner, Canuck and Arrow aircraft, and Orenda Engines which built the Chinook, Orenda and Iroquois engines, were but two of twelve different companies that made up A.V. Roe Canada in 1959.
The company took over the Victory Aircraft Plant at Malton, Ontario where Canada built the Lancaster bomber during World War Two – now the site of Pearson International Airport.
A.V. Roe Canada Ltd. assets were sold for 16.2 million dollars in July 1962 - following the Feb 1959 termination of the Arrow and Iroquois programs by the Government.
Orenda Engines survived the dismantling of A.V. Roe Canada to carry on overhauling existing engines and building engines for the Canadair CF-104 Starfighter, Canadair CT-144 Tutor (company model CL-41), as well as the Air Forces of Canada, Venezuela and the Netherlands and industrial gas turbine engines. The company changed hands several times to Fleet Aerospace, Orenda Aerospace, and is currently Magellan Repair, Overhaul & Industrial.
SPAR Aerospace was formed in 1967 through the amalgamation of de Havilland Canada’s Special Products unit and Avro’s Applied Research division. SPAR’s incredible achievements (including the Shuttle and Space Station’s Canadarms) were recognized worldwide. SPAR is now part of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates.
Crawford Gordon, the flamboyant president of A.V. Roe resigned his position July 2, 1959 only to die alone and destitute some years later in New York.
Fred Smye vice president of A.V. Roe at the age of 32 years resigned his position in frustration following the Arrow cancellation, retired to Portugal, never again to set foot in Canada or be involved in another aircraft project.