This page holds a sampling of memorable comments posted to GECO’s webpages over the years. The commentors range widely in age and demographics. Not surprisingly, GECO’s history–important and curious as it is–appeals to all.
This page is a work in progress. With hundreds of posts to sift through, more will be re-posted soon.
A Trip down Memory’s Lane
“Its such a delight to find your web site because it happens to have information and pictures about GECO. My father worked there one summer as an engineering student. He has written a few of his memories down and I am marrying them up with images from the internet to create a “memories book” for Christmas for him. Finding your page about GECO is amazing! Well done! Its also interesting to learn that this information is from a romance writer – the irony here is that it writes as an engineer – almost no emotion at all! Quite the opposite of your style, I’m sure. Once again, thank you so very much for your information.
If you should have the time, send a message. It would be a pleasure to hear from you.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Sincerely — Peter French”
“I immensely enjoyed the GECO info that you have researched, especially since I am one of Carol Knight’s sons! As kids growing up in Scarborough, we often passed the GECO site, to the extent it became part of the household Knight-lore. It is good to see that GECO is finally being recognized for it’s historic importance. I intend to take Mom to the above-mentioned unveiling, and wonder if you will be attending?
F.Y.I. — “At noon this coming Wednesday, [7/22/2009] there will be a Heritage Toronto historic plaque unveiling commemorating the wartime GECO munitions plant and the subsequent creation of Scarborough’s Golden Mile that took over the site in the 1950s. The unveiling will take place at 1900 Eglinton Ave. E. (west of Warden Ave. and opposite Lebovic Ave.).” (from Mike Filey,Toronto Sun,7/19/2009)
“My wife and I very much enjoyed your GECO presentation at the Eginton Square library this week . My aunt,Mrs.Sadie Thomas,worked at GECO. If you or anyone is planning a tour of the area, I would very much like to be involved . I taught at W.A. Porter C.I. for 30 years and am vaguely familiar with the area. My email address and telephone number are given above.
— Sincerely, Albert”
“My grandmother worked at GECO. I was hoping to put some sort of scrap book together for both her kids & grandchildren and great grandchildren. Not sure what her exact job was…..but my mom says that she had to shower before and after work at the plant. She also wore special shoes. Do you have access to old employee records. Her name was Emily Voss (nee Harris). If you could even direct me to websites with either photo’ or old employee records if possible. I realize life isn’t that simple but technology has come a long way. Thanks again.
— Deborah Sutton (Peterborough, ON)”
“There was a restaurant at the NW corner of Dawes Rd. and Danforth Ave. with a small lot behind it where the bus from GECO would bring workers at the end of their shift. I had a newspaper stand in front of the restaurant and about 5 pm some of the day shift would buy a newspaper from me when they got off the bus. I was only about 9 years old and I remember that the hit song on the restaurant’s jukebox was ‘Don’t Fence Me In’. It played about every 5 minutes. I was so sick of hearing it and I was glad when I sold all my papers and could go home. I lived on Main St. just north of Danforth. I think that was maybe my first job and in a small way, I guess it was my contribution.
I never went to GECO until several years later, but I would like to think that a lot of the workers knew me.
— Roy Robertson”
“Over a year ago someone mentioned to me that it would be funny to look up the history of my employer. Needless to say that small casual mention snowballed into a personal history project. My employer currently has 2 buildings side by side. The smaller old one is one of the last few GECO buildings left. I have found all of GECO so very interesting. I to plan to put a “scrapbook” together of the area and my building. The way the people came together was incredible. I hope to go to the toronto archives in the next month to get more info and pictures. Glad to know it hasn’t been forgotten.
Other War Workers: Research Enterprises
What can you tell me about Research Enterprises. Its dog toothed roofed building stood at Eglinton and Laird. My grandfather worked there up until Sunnybrook Hospital was opened in 1948. He had been wounded in Cambrai, France in October 1918, invalided at home and after years in the Dominion Orthopeadic hospital in Toronto, and the Calydor Sanitorium in Bracebridge. He must have taken this job. I remember him going to Research daily but nothing about what he did there!
— Donna George, Whitby, Ontario”
I Had No Idea!
“Barb, thanks for publishing the best-ever article about GECO. I worked in one of the units, years ago, and had no idea of the history of the area. Have you considered submitting your website/informatin to History Television?- What an amazing documentary this would make! History Channel should consider this…now that would be a worthwhile show, definitely a cool idea.
I think the address was 126 Manville, in a small Engineering office (back from 1971-1974) – the building has been taken down – just flattened, but I guarantee that the tunnels exist underneath. If you drive down Manville, you’ll see an empty lot on the west side – that was it. There was easy access to the tunnels then.
My husband attended cadets when he was a teenager in one of the old GECO buildings on Manville and tells me that they used to go down into the tunnels, exploring, and found they could access other units.. seems that others did as well – this would be back in the late 1950′s.
We drove down Manville yesterday, and it’s 124 Manville that is gone *my apologies* The demolished site is now a parking lot, with a chain link fence on 2 sides. I would love to join you, with other GECO enthusiasts – thanks so much- Please!…just let me know when. I’m curious to know if entrances to the tunnel still exist in each surviving GECO building (they did at one time).
Miss War Worker
“What a great site about Geco. My aunt worked for Geco and was also Miss Geco one year. Is there any photos available of all the “Miss Gecos”? I have a photo of my aunt, with some other women in their Geco uniforms. I’m also looking for anything about the aunt of a dear friend of my mother. The aunt’s name was Elizabeth Wright (could have been known as Lizzie or Betty). I worked at a company in the Pharmacy and Eglinton area for 12 years and there were also tunnels that far over as well. Went in one of them.
GECO as Post-War Housing
“This the first i have saw of your site.I moved there in 1947 along with many other families as Toronto was in dire need of housing and GECO was modified only slightly to accommodate upwards to approx 1000 families.The tunnels were still there as we as kids would go down there to play.We lived in #134 Building and later moved up to # 16 Building and i believe they still bare these numbers today.
— Don Walton, Wasaga Beach, Ont”
“I moved to GECO with my mom and brothers to live there after we were evicted from our home in East Toronto. I just completed reading the book “Corky, Peggy and the Goldfinch’ written by Warren W Evans in 2004, published by Author House. He too lived there in his teenage years and this book recounts his story. I would love to meet and chat with a fellow Gecoite about those years. I don’t do email but my wife Robin does. I would prefer to chat verbally about these days if anyone would like to call. I live in Rosseau, Ontario area. Thanks.
— Gary White.”
“My friend had her son killed in a car accident while living in GECO. Do you know anyway i might fine an article about this accident???
“A few years back I was looking for information on GECo as my family lived in a building where the Ford Dealership is now. I was about 5 years old but I had three older sisters and a older brother. My brother, Kerry Ian Taylor was 9 years old when he fell of the water tower and was killed, this was in 1953. I just wanted to thank you for this great article and keep in touch with any new tours of the area. Thanks so Much
— Dennis Taylor”
GECO in the 50s
“I heard about your recent presentation about GECO at the Eglinton Square Branch of the Toronto Public Library, which I understand met with a very enthusiastic response.
GECO is of particular interest to library historians. When the Scarborough Public Library was organized in 1955, Robert Bonis notes in his History of Scarborough, “temporary library headquarters were obtained in an old G.E.CO. building beside the municipal offices on Eglinton Avenue …(p. 236). Bonis also includes pictures of the building on p. 237.
In addition to your presentation and your website pages, have you written a book about GECO that we could add to our collections? As you are no doubt aware, two books by the General Engineering Company (Canada) now are in the Toronto Public Library catalog: Facts & figures 1947, 96 p.) and Ammunition saves lives (1944,  p.)
We plan to index and create a link to your GECO website pages on the Toronto Public Library’s Virtual Reference Library. I suggest that your website would be greatly enhanced by having the images identified and credited. This should be easy to do, since almost all of them are from the Archives of Ontario and are identified on its online visual database. See http://ao.minisisinc.com/scripts/mwimain.dll/463/3/0?SEARCH&ERRMSG=IMG_WEBimg_simNo.htm
Wouldn’t your readers be interested to know, for example, that Mary Pickford is pictured in the fourth image on the main page. I am also curious if Ray Corley created the “Engineer’s drawing” of GECO. He was a dear friend of mine and had a great interest in GECO; he also did presentations on the company before he died.
I look forward to hearing fom you. — Barbara Myrvold”
“Thank you for your Very interesting ‘site’. My father Jack Atchison [a ‘vet’, now deceased] worked as a ‘fireman’ at one of G.E.C.O.’s 2 fire halls after the War. I think it may have been Firehall #1. Are there any records re the fire halls & their post-war late-1940s employees? My long-time friend from that era also remembers as a child visiting the GECO post-war housing there. We are both working on family-histories & are interest in its post-War housing-use. [Dad was also involved in the firemen’s temporary adoption of an ownerless dog who rescued a child from a street-manhole–apparently there was a newspaper-article about that rescue–& he subsequently found the dog a home with my friend’s family.] My aunt Bertha ‘Bertie’ Withers also worked at GECO during the War.
“There was an access hatch in the floor in the warehouse at 140 Manville Rd. You could only walk so far (towards Lake Ontario) and the tunnel was bricked up. There were rooms down there. Not sure if the building still exists?
“I was wondering where exactly the remaining tunnel is. I grew up at Birchmount and Chelwood, just up the street from comstock and went to school at W.A. Porter. I had never heard of the tunnels until today on a site remembering Scarborough on Facebook. I would love to take my kids there if it is possible to see and go into the tunnels. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you
More to come…