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A preserved 1954 CCF-Brill trolley bus in Edmonton

Canadian Car and Foundry (CC&F) also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market. CC&F history goes back to 1897, but the main company was established in 1909 from an amalgamation of several companies and later became part of Hawker Siddeley Canada through the purchase by A.V. Roe Canada in 1957.


Portable power plant built by Canadian Car and Foundry[1]

Canadian Car & Foundry (CC&F) was established in 1909 in Montreal as the result of an amalgamation of three companies:

  • Rhodes Curry Company of Amherst, NS - founded 1891
  • Canada Car Company of Turcot, QC - founded 1905
  • Dominion Car and Foundry of Montreal, QC

In 1911 the CC&F Board of Directors recognized that the company could improve its efficiency if they were able to produce their own steel castings, a component that was becoming common to all their products. They purchased Montreal Steel Works Limited at Longue Pointe, QC, the largest producer of steel castings in Canada, and the Ontario Iron & Steel Company, Ltd. at Welland, Ontario, which included both a steel foundry and a rolling mill.

Buses were produced at Fort William, Ontario and railcars in Montreal and Amherst. Streetcars were manufactured between 1897 to 1913, however the company focused exclusively on rebuilding existing streetcars after 1913.

A few years later, CC&F acquired the assets of Pratt & Letchworth, a Brantford, Ontario, rail car manufacturer. In the latter part of World War I, the expanding company opened a new plant in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) to manufacture rail cars and ships which included the famous Inkerman and Cerisoles Minesweepers that were both lost in Lake Superior; the Amherst plant started by Rhodes & Curry in Amherst was closed in 1931. In an attempt to enter the aviation market, CC&F produced a small series of Grumman fighter aircraft under licence and developed an unsuccessful, indigenous-designed fighter aircraft, the Gregor FDB-1.

The Second World War

CC&F Hawker Hurricane X on a test flight over Fort William, Ontario

By 1939, with war on the horizon, Canadian Car & Foundry and its Chief Engineer, Elsie MacGill, were contracted by the RAF to produce the Hawker Hurricane.[2] Refinements introduced by MacGill on the Hurricane included skis and de-icing controls for operating in winter. MacGill's success with the Hurricane earned her the nickname: "Queen of the Hurricanes." She was even featured in a comic book in the US under that name. When the production of the Hurricane was complete in 1943, CC&Fs workforce of 4,500 (half of them women), had built over 1,400 aircraft; about 10% of the Hurricanes built.

Following the success of the Hurricane contract, CC&F sought out and received a production order for the troublesome SB2C Curtiss Helldiver. A continuous stream of specification changes from the Curtiss aircraft designers jeopardized the mass production of the aircraft.[citation needed] Eventually, 834 Helldivers were produced by CC&F in various versions from SBW-1, SBW-1B, SBW-3,SBW-4E and SBW-5. Some of the Curtiss divebombers were sent directly to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease arrangements.

In 1944, the Canadian Car & Foundry built a revolutionary new aircraft in its Montreal shops - the Burnelli CBY-3, also called the Loadmaster. There were two examples built of an aerofoil-fuselage design originally developed by Vincent J. Burnelli. The CBY-3 was in some ways, far superior to the planes of its day[citation needed] (its primary competition was the DC-3 Dakota) in terms of cargo lifting capacity and overall performance, but the CBY-3 was fated never to enter full-scale production and was cancelled less than one year later.

Postwar developments

After the Second World War, the CC&F returned to its roots as a rail car manufacturer. They also made a successful leap into the streetcar business, supplying Montreal, Toronto, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, and the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo with various types of streetcars. The company concluded a licencing agreement with ACF-Brill (the successor to J. G. Brill) in 1944 to manufacture and sell throughout Canada buses and trolley coaches of ACF-Brill design as Canadian Car-Brill, in later years often written "CCF-Brill", for short. CC&F built 1,114 trolley buses[3] and a few thousand buses under the name. Trolleybus production ended in 1954; Edmonton Transit System's No. 202, a 1954 CCF-Brill T48A, was the very last Brill trolleybus built for any city.[4]

In 1957, wishing to diversify, the British Hawker Siddeley Group acquired CC&F through its Canadian subsidiary, A.V. Roe Canada Ltd.. In 1962, A.V. Roe Canada was dissolved and its assets became part of Hawker Siddeley Canada. CCF re-emerged as Can-Car Rail in 1983 as a joint division between Hawker Siddeley Canada and UTDC. The Can-Car Rail operations were based in Thunder Bay. Sold to SNC-Lavalin in 1986, re-sold to the Government of Ontario, CCF assets was finally acquired by Bombardier Transportation. Through a series of further acquisitions and inevitable mergers and rationalisations, CC&F faded from the annals of significant Canadian manufacturers, although the company still exists today as Bombardier Transportation Canada Incorporated Railcar facility in Thunder Bay, Ontario.



  • CCF-Brill 44S motor bus (under license)
  • CCF-Brill T44/T44A trolley bus (under license), 1946–54[3]
  • CCF-Brill T48/T48A/T48SP trolley bus (under license), 1949-54[3]
  • President Conference Committee Car A6 SE DT
  • President Conference Committee Car A7 SE DT
  • President Conference Committee Car A8 SE DT
  • Small Peter Witt cars with Ottawa Car Company
  • Large Peter Witt car and trailers with J. G. Brill and Company


  • Tanks for World War II
  • cars for the Intercolonial Railway
  • cars for the Grand Trunk Railway
  • cars for the Grand Trunk Pacific
  • cars for the Canadian Northern Railways
  • cars for the Canadian Pacific Railway
  • cars for the Canadian National Railways (some later operated by Via Rail or Rocky Mountaineer)
  • bi-level cars for GO Transit - with Hawker Siddeley Canada and SNC Lavalin


  • G23 Goblin - Grumman Grumman FF/SF built under license)
  • Gregor FDB-1
  • Canadian Car and Foundry Maple Leaf Trainer II
  • Hawker Hurricane (under license)
  • SBW Helldiver - Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (under license)
  • CC&F CBY-3 Loadmaster
  • Canadian Car and Foundry Harvard Mk 4 (production rights to the T-6/Harvard family were sold to CC&F post war)
  • Beechcraft T-34 Mentor (under license)


  • British Columbia Electric Railway
  • Canadian Northern Railways
  • Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Canadian National Railways
  • Edmonton Transit System
  • Grand Trunk Railway
  • Hamilton Street Railway
  • Intercolonial Railway
  • Ottawa Transportation Commission
  • Quebec Railway, Light and Power Company (later Québec Autobus, post–1959)
  • Société de transport de Montréal
  • Toronto Transportation Commission


Many CC&F-built buses have been preserved as historic vehicles, some in operating condition. For example, the Transit Museum Society, in Vancouver, has at least seven CC&F buses in its collection, including two CC&F-Brill trolleybuses.[5]

See also

  • J. G. Brill and Company
  • Preston Car Company
  • Ottawa Car Company
  • Niles Car and Manufacturing Company
  • American Car and Foundry


  1. "Welcome to" Sask Power Car, September 11, 2008. Retrieved: 3 October 2008.
  2. Hurricane Mark X, XI and XII
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Porter, Harry; and Worris, Stanley F.X. (1979). Trolleybus Bulletin No. 109: Databook II, pp. 63–64. Louisville (KY): North American Trackless Trolley Association (defunct).
  4. Trolleybus Magazine No. 283 (January–February 2009), p. 11. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
  5. The Historic Bus Fleet. Transit Museum Society. 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-07.

External links

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