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A Brief History

On June 29, 1966 alongside Karl E. Scott, president of Ford of Canada and Marvin T. Runyon, manager for the St. Thomas plant, Premier John Robarts broke ground at the $65,000,000 St. Thomas Ford Assembly Plant site.

Nearly 18 months after the groundbreaking ceremony, on December 18, 1967, the first vehicle rolled off the assembly line and the St. Thomas Assembly Plant was in full production. Ford’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant began as a one-shift operation and in 1969 added a second shift to become a two-shift operation, Monday to Friday.

The assembly line totalled 19 kilometres and produced 63 units per hour or approximately 1,000 units per day. It took an average vehicle 27 hours to go through the entire assembly process.

C8 Sh4 B2 F1 62 - Mr. St. Thomas Ford Plant
Mr. St. Thomas Ford Plant is a symbol of the high standard of craftsmanship of workers at the St. Thomas Assembly Plant. His head is a piston, his arms are micrometer callipers, and his feet are Johannsen gauge blocks. His body is the maple leaf emblem of the St. Thomas plant emblazoned with the letters ZD to denote the Zero Defects concept of 'Do It Right The First Time, Right From The Start'.

During the time the plant was open, Ford served the heart of the Elgin County and St. Thomas communities. The plant workers supported one another through hardships and strikes. Ford vehicles were donated to a number of charities and the Ford community was actively involved in giving back to the citizens of Elgin County and surrounding areas. Additionally, the plant won various awards for its environmental awareness, quality and business achievements.

After more than four decades of providing Elgin County and surrounding area with jobs and producing quality vehicles for Ford, the last vehicle rolled off the assembly line on September 15, 2011.

This exhibit has been designed to document the role of the St. Thomas Ford Assembly plant in our community and its involvement in providing jobs, services, and support during its time of operation.