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The Dupont Street building where Ford once built their legendary Model T

July 2024

Despite what some believe Henry Ford and the Ford motor company weren’t the ones who created the gas powered automobile. That distinction goes to Carl Benz, who created the first gas powered automobile in 1885, fifteen years after a small gas powered motor was placed on a car, proving it could be used to power a horseless carriage.

What Henry Ford did when he started the Ford Motor Company in 1903, was to perfect the assembly line, where each man did a few small tasks as the line carried the automobile past their workstation. By doing it this way, his workers were able to assemble a few cars per day with a team of two or three men building a complete car.

In 1908, Henry Ford created the Model T, the first automobile to be mass produced on an assembly line. The Model T would go on to sell 15 million copies over the next twenty years and it was the best selling car of all time until the Volkswagon Beetle surpassed it in 1972.

When Ford branched into Canada, he built four new assembly plants, in Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto. The Toronto assembly plant, a 110,000-square-foot factory, was built at the corner of Dupont Street and Christie Street. In order to accommodate the weight of the automobiles and the required equipment, the five-story building was constructed with thick, heavily re-enforced, concrete floors.

The showroom was on the ground floor, with the second floor for shipping and receiving, and was built level with the adjoining Canadian Pacific Railway line for easy transportation of cars and materials to and from the building.

Assembly of the automobiles was done on the third and fourth floor, with a paint shop located on the fifth floor. A small test track was located on the roof, with a four-foot-high wall protecting the automobiles from driving off the building.

A freight elevator, with a load capacity of 10, 000 pounds, was used to ferry automobiles and the components needed to build them up and down the respective floors, including the roof-top track.

Production continued in the building until 1924, when production was moved to a new facility on Danforth Avenue at and Victoria Park, due to the new Model A Ford requiring manufacturing space. Around this time, the sale price for a Model T was around $360, equivalent to $5,616 today.

Ford sold the building and several food companies occupied the building until 1948, when the Planters Nut and Chocolate Company took over the building, producing their snack products out the this facility until 1987, when the company moved to a new production facility in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

Faema Caffe, Canada’s largest distributor of premium residential and commercial coffee and restaurant equipment for over 60-years, bought the historic building in 1994 for use as their flagship retail and commercial showroom. The building was renovated and restored to its appearance circa 1916, with many of the bricked-up windows being opened up again.

Most of the former automobile showroom was turned into a showroom for Faema’s products like their coffee, cappuccino and espresso machines. The second floor serves as a café, where coffee and baked goods are made and served to customers.

Two Model T automobiles are on display in the building, a convertible on the first floor and a hard-top model on the second floor.

Sources: Toronto’s Model T Factory | Hiking the GTA, off the grid: ghost city 672 dupont street (jbwarehouse.blogspot.com).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-dupont-street-building-where-ford-once-built-their-legendary-model-t/

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