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Victor Canham And Company: Guelph's Hanger King

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Guelph has many companies that remain a footnote in its history. While Raymond Sewing Machine Company, and Bell Organ and Piano Company are names people recognize, V.H. Canham & Company is not. In fact, the company’s contributions are forgotten except by those who recognize his genius in creating common domestic products. In other words, Canham made products that housewives and small business owners could use to make their work easier.

The Canada Ingot Iron Company: Surviving For More Than a Century

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n 1908, Robert William Gladstone (1879-1951), Henry Burton Sharman (1865-1953) and John N. Lyon of Manitoba, combined forces to form the Ontario Metal Culvert Company. Based in Guelph, this company was to metamorphose into, first an American branch plant of the American Rolling Mill Company (later Armco) called Canada Ingot Iron Company in 1915, in 1931 to Armco Drainage and Metal Products and, in 1946, into Armco Canada Ltd. The company became one of the oldest producers of corrugated galvanized metal culverts and pipes as well as road equipment in Canada.

Keeping It In The Family: The Callander Foundry And Manufacturing Company

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In 1915, Alex Callander, age 55, left the Taylor-Forbes Company with plans to set up his own foundry business. In 1916, together with five of his six sons, a silent financial partner and a relative - Hugh B. Callander, he opened the Callander and Manufacturing Company, Ltd. On Crimea Street. It was to remain a viable concern right up until it was sold to Rockwell in 1953.

Burrow Brothers Royal Carpet

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The Royal Carpet Factory operated in Guelph in a few locations starting off with 15 employees in a shop at the corner of Gordon and Essex Streets. At least two Burrows were involved at this time: Alvin and Harry. The company relocated later that year to part of Allan’s Mill. However, the factory location best remembered was at the corner of Norfolk and Paisley where Market Fresh currently stands.

Making Furniture In Guelph: The Burr Brothers

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In 1872, Burr and Skinner operated a furniture factory in a newly constructed 2-storey building on the north side of Oxford. With a workforce of between They manufactured a variety of furniture including bed frames. The business did well, expanding in size b in 1880, 1882 and 1886. 

The company mainly relied on an Ontario market but produced fine furniture that found buyers from Halifax to Vancouver. Burr Brothers Furniture Company remained active until 1901. It was then bought by a conglomerate - Canadian Furniture Manufacturing, Ltd. They remained in Guelph until 1911 when they closed the factory.

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No Relief From Relief: The Great Depression In Guelph

During the last few years of the 1920s, Guelphites were beginning to feel quite optimistic. After the post-war slump, the economy was turning around. Companies were hiring and workers were regaining much of what they had lost. Then, on October 29, 1929, came the crash plunging employers and employees alike into a new economic reality.

One year later, 400,000 Canadians were out of work. Wages were cut and those employed had to live on less pay. Businesses retrenched and the labour movement was brought to a temporary standstill. All levels of Government, attempted to curtail the downward spiral. They instituted various Relief Programs, including Relief Camps, Relief Settlements, Relief Gangs and Relief distribution. Truly, during the 1930s, there was no relief from Relief.

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