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Mack Trucks celebrates 100 years in Canada

Mack Trucks is celebrating 100 years in Canada in 2021, no small feat for any business — and that would be 700 in bulldog years.

The OEM’s presence in the country can be traced as far back as World War I, when many surplus AC models were shipped back to Canada and put to work for heavy-haul applications. Montreal-based Fairbanks-Morse Company was established as the first sales agent in the country as early as 1912, although sales were slow at the time.

AC Model Mack
AC Model Macks, which made their mark during World War I, began to emerge on Canadian roads before the company had an official presence here. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

Mack Trucks of Canada officially opened in 1921 in a small building on Vanauley Street in downtown Toronto, selling AB and AC models.

One of its largest customers that year was Ontario-based Dufferin Construction, which remains a customer to this day.

Larger facilities followed throughout the 1920s, as the dealer network expanded. Marshalls Garage in St. John’s, Newfoundland became the first distributor in 1924, followed by a Montreal location in 1929.

Most of the units sold in that decade were shipped by rail from Allentown, Pa., although a few chassis knock-down units were shipped up to Toronto for assembly there.

Mack E
Mack Trucks’ head office moved to Montreal in the 1940s, as the OEM’s trucks delivered evermore cargo in units like this 1948 Mack E. (Photo: Mack Trucks)

Offices moved to Montreal in the 1940s to tap into a booming construction market, and expansion continued across the country. And the office moved back to Canada in 1958.

The first Mack production plant was built at the back of a Queensway location in Toronto in 1964, taking advantage of the duty-free trade of truck and production parts under the U.S.-Canada Auto Pact Agreement. A larger plant opened just two years later made the Mack R model.

By 1970 the Oakville plant was building 26 trucks a day, including everything but fire trucks and cabovers. Its production lines served the Canadian market until closing in 1993.

“It’s an honor for Mack to be part of Canada’s story, and to recognize Mack’s commitment to helping build and sustain the needs of the country,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack’s senior vice-president of North American sales and commercial operations.

For a comprehensive timeline showing Mack’s history in Canada, visit https://www.macktrucks.com/about-mack/museum/mack-history/canada-history/.

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