GECO Today

 

Original GECO Shift House in 2012

Original GECO Shift House in 2012

Over seventy-five years have passed since Canada declared war on Germany, yet remnants of GECO still stand today, a testament to the incredible workmanship of her builders. Remarkably, 172 buildings were erected in five months back during WWII, constructed from wood, and intended to be temporary sheds with an anticipated lifespan of only five years. A world war couldn’t possibly last longer. Someone would capitulate eventually.

Little could Messrs. Hamilton, or their 21,000 employees have fathomed the lasting legacy of GECO in Scarborough.

A walk or drive around the area today bordered by Warden Avenue to the west, Eglinton Avenue to the north, Sinnott Road to the east, and Hymus Road to the south will reveal, with a discerning eye, the low silhouettes of approximately twenty original GECO buildings, some remarkably unchanged from their former heyday.  The quality of the building construction only speaks to the incredible standards that the entire GECO endeavour strived to not only meet but surpass.

18 comments for “GECO Today

  1. David Soltess
    September 19, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Ms Dickson:

    I recently acquired a Geco munition worker’s pin, which has a stamped ID no. on the reverse. Are you aware of any records where I could match the number to the name of the worker? Many thanks, DS.

    • September 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Hi David, thanks for your query. GECO’s records were destroyed after the war, so there is no way to match a pin to an employee. The best I can do is let you know approximately when during GECO’s tenure at Scarboro the employee was hired. What number is on the back of the pin? Thanks again. Barbara

      • David Soltess
        September 26, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        Barbara: The pin is numbered 584. Thanks, David S.

  2. Jackie
    April 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Hello Barbara I hope all is going well for you and your family. I just wanted to give you my new email address so I will know when the book on Geco is printed I am really looking forward to reading it. My best regards Jackie

    e

    • September 15, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Jackie, hope things are going well for you and yours. Can you please contact me at your earliest convenience, either through my web-site or via e-mail? You should have my e-mail address. Thanks so much. Barbara

  3. Rob
    March 26, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Hi Barbara,

    I hope you are keeping well. Sometime ago you sent me some pictures of the GECO Fire Department apparatus along with some of it’s history. I just came across a little more information on the and I thought you maybe interest in it. It is on page 28 of the Toronto Fire Watch at the URL: http://issuu.com/local3888/docs/summer

    Thanks for your help
    Rob

  4. john gilmour
    November 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    HI BARBARA YOU SPOKE AT OUR LADIES GROUP AT JUBILEE UNITED CHURCH AND

    THE LADIES ARE WONDERING WHEN YOUR BOOK WILL OUT, SO WE CAN PURCHASE

    A COPY OF TE BOOK ON THE BOMB GIRLS, MOST INTERESTING EVENING ON

    THE SUBJECT, THANKS MURIEL GILMOUR

    • December 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Hi John, I hope to announce a release date for the GECO book very soon. Unfortunately in the publishing industry, somewhat like the entertainment industry, it’s “hurry up and wait.” The good news is the book is with the publisher, one of the largest in Canada. The bad news is it’s one of countless others which must go through the system. Hold tight. I’ll let you know just as soon as I know. Thanks for your interest! Take care, Barbara

  5. Patricia Cardy
    October 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Hi Barbara

    I am looking for information for my Grandson who is doing a project on the war. My mother-in-law worked in the GeCo plant making ammunitions and I have a picture of a lot of women posing for a snapshot. My mother-in-law is in the front of the picture and her name was Ivy Cardy. I just found your website and really enjoyed reading all of the comments. Would love to buy your book when it is published.
    Patricia Cardy

    • October 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Patricia, thanks for your post. If your grandson needs information about GECO, let me know and I’ll help him in any way I can. So nice to hear your mother-in-law worked at GECO. I’d love to see the picture you have. If it’s not too much trouble, could you scan it and send it to me? Or, if you live in the GTA we could meet over a coffee. Let me know. Thanks again. Barbara

  6. Matt
    July 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Barbara,

    I was wondering if you have any information specific to the fire station that was on the GECO site?

    Thanks

    • August 13, 2013 at 1:27 am

      Hi Matt, thanks for your post. My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. Yes, I have information about the two fire stations that were on the GECO property. Give me some time to pull some things together and I’ll be in touch. Thanks for your interest in GECO. Babara

  7. david Carr
    March 15, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    This is all fascinating! I am a matchbook collector (or rather, matchcovers) and I came across a matchbook cover from GECO. It was trying to figure out just what it was that led me here and to other sites. The TransCanada Matchover Club will have a picture of that matchcover and an article on GECO in an upcoming bulletin; I cannot say when. I will submit it and hope! But what a history…………

    • Barbara
      March 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Hi David, thanks so much for your post and for sending along the pictures of a GECO matchbook. It’s a great artefact of a time gone by. I knew matchbooks existed but I hadn’t seen one. It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it, that a munitions plant (that handled high explosives around the clock) would sanction the handing out of matchbooks to their employees? There’s a GECO story about an employee who forgot to leave his matches on the ‘dirty’ side of the plant, and was caught on the ‘cleanside.’ He was arrested and put in jail for his infraction. I’d love to read your article when it’s published. Please send it along. Thanks again. Barbara

  8. Aaron
    January 25, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Hey Barbara, I was wondering if you were still touring the tunnels that run under the old factory area, I’m really interested in them. Do you think you could send me some info on how to see them if still possible?

    • Barbara
      January 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Aaron, thanks for your post and interest in GECO’s tunnels. I get the opportunity to travel the tunnels every so often. The buildings of GECO were sold off after the war with their corresponding tunnels. The government sealed up the tunnels at the property lines of each business. Many tunnels today have either been filled in, or if they’re still accessible, are used as cellars/basements. However, there are still opportunities to see the tunnels. I’ve added your name to a tunnel tour list. Should the opportunity come up where we can hold a more organized tour, as opposed to going down “on the fly,” I’ll be sure to let you know. Thanks again.

  9. kerry sullivan
    January 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Barbara………….enjoyed our meeting at Tim Horton’s with my brother Jim.I have been to your website and will continue to follow it.Thanks for the opportunity to discuss the old GECO plant with you…best wishes……Kerry Sullivan

    • Barbara
      January 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Kerry, it was my pleasure to meet you and Jim. Like so many others, your father contributed to the war effort. Like Phillip MacDonald’s dad, your dad was instrumental in helping to keep GECO’s fleet on the road despite no access to metal, rubber, car/truck parts, etc. due to rationing. Somehow these incredible men figured out how to keep cars and trucks in good repair with next to nothing. In fact, they figured out how to build cars and trucks from scrap parts. Thanks again for coming out on a rainy morning. Take care. Stay in touch. Barbara

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