Avro Aircraft Canada was a Canadian aircraft manufacturing company, known
for their innovative designs, including the famed Avro Arrow fighter.
A.V. Roe Canada was set up in 1945 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the
UK-based Avro. Avro Aircraft, their first (and at the time, only)
division, started operations in the former Victory Aircraft factories in
Malton (now embedded in a much larger Toronto). During WWII, Victory had
been one of a number of shadow factories set up in Canada to produce
British designs in safety. Victory had built 3,197 Ansons, 430 Lancasters,
6 Lincolns and a single York.
With wartime construction ended, Avro turned to the repair and servicing
of a number of WWII-era aircraft, including Sea Furies, B-25s and (of
course) Lancasters. However, they also started looking for new designs to
produce, and settled on jet-powered aircraft for the RCAF and Trans-Canada
A.V. Roe Canada's first design started in 1946 as the Avro CF-100, a large
jet-powered all-weather interceptor in an era of propeller-driven
aircraft. Although the design was largely complete by the next year, the
factory was not tooled until late in 1948 due to the ongoing repair work.
The CF-100 would have a long gestation period before finally entering RCAF
service in 1952, although it remained in service in small numbers until
Work was also underway on a civilian short-haul transport known as the
Avro C-102 Jetliner. It just lost becoming the first jet transport in the
world when it first flew in August 1949, losing to the deHavilland Comet
by a mere two weeks. However, the company was still attempting to get the
CF-100 into production at the time, and the government eventually forbade
any further work on the project as the Cold War heated up with the Korean
War. The project was eventually cancelled, and the only prototype was
broken up in 1956.
During this time, A.V. Roe also purchased Turbo Research. Originally a
small firm involved in cold-weather testing of jet engines for the RCAF,
the company had started work on a number of their own engine designs. When
they were purchased by A.V. Roe they were about mid-way through their TR.4
design, which was renamed the Chinook. The company would eventually be
renamed in honour of their later TR.5 design, known as the Orenda.
Need for a newer and much more powerful interceptor was clear even before
the CF-100 entered service, and a number of design studies on swept-wing
versions started as early as 1952. A switch to the even more "modern"
delta wing was studied as the CF-103, and this led directly to the larger
CF-105 Avro Arrow.
By this time, A.V. Roe Canada also held a number of other large divisions,
include Canadian Car & Foundry (1957) and Canadian Steel Improvement.
However, the company was still primarily an aviation firm, and the
cancellation of the Arrow in 1959 led to a massive downsizing and an
attempt to diversify. Avro engineers who remained worked on marine, truck
and automobile projects.
In 1962, Avro in the UK was purchased by Hawker-Siddeley, in one of a
number of ongoing mergers in the UK aviation industry. The newly-formed
Hawker-Siddeley Group then sold off much of its Canadian operations, and
closed the Malton Avro plant. Today, the factories are used by Boeing
aircraft, and are located on the north end of Pearson International
Airport. Hawker-Siddeley Canada has since dissolved after divesting itself
of almost everything other than the pension fund by the late 1990s.
Orenda Engines is the only remaining original company from the A.V. Roe
empire, although largely in name only.