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Manufacturing matters this Canada 150: online promotion ranks top made-in-Manitoba products since Confideration

Published by CME Manitoba on June 29, 2017

Manufacturing matters this Canada 150

Online promotion ranks top made-in-Manitoba products since Confederation

WINNIPEG – Manitoba’s manufacturing stories paint a picture of our province from infancy to early adulthood, with a bright future on the horizon. Nearly 64,000 Manitobans work in the sector, which contributes more than 10 per cent to Manitoba’s GDP. To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) asked manufacturers, industry influencers and the public to name the companies and products that impact Manitobans, create jobs and help shape our culture. More than 100 companies and individuals participated in the online campaign; the results of which tell the story of a province shaped by industry.


Says CME Manitoba Vice President, Ron Koslowsky “Manitoba is a special place to do business and nowhere is it more evident than in the manufacturing community. Since the 1880s, manufacturers have been producing products that shape our lives and create wealth and jobs along the way.”


1880s to the great depression

At the turn of the last century, heavy industry, food production and transportation had begun to emerge as some of the key economic drivers we see to this day. The Winnipeg Foundry Company was producing two to three tons of metal daily and the Redwood Brewery was turning out 10,000 barrels of alcohol a year. Scott-Bathgate’s Nutty Club brand (famously located at 149 Pioneer Ave) developed a reputation for packaged candy, while the Great West Saddlery Company employed 300+ workers at its manufacturing plants – an impressive number for the day. The Dominion Bridge Company, Fort Garry Fire Trucks and Friesen’s Corporation also established themselves at the turn of the last century. A few decades later, aerospace – StandardAero and Magellan – began to take off.

World War II & the post-war years

In the nation’s breadbasket, prairie manufacturing boomed after World War II. Two made-in-Manitoba success stories, Versatile and MacDon, helped play a role in agriculture’s exploding production. And while farming was changing, cities were growing at an even faster rate. Manitobans were moving to the ‘burbs and manufacturers were quick to respond. Transportation and aerospace thrived as major employers like New Flyer, Motor Coach and Tripe E RV hit their stride. And with urbanization, companies like Barkman Concrete, Palliser and Defehr (furniture) and Price Industries (HVAC systems) emerged to meet demand.


Mid-60s to the early 90s

Baby boomers came of age and embraced the digital revolution as computing power began to change the face of manufacturing. A growing consumer culture also gave rise to niche businesses of the day. From Pic-a-Pop to Mondetta to Chip and Pepper and the Pizza Pop, many an overnight success story was born – a great deal of whom are still around and thriving today.


Mid-90s – to present day

Manufacturing is looking at a bright future, as sub-sectors with high tech needs and high skills jobs emerge. Micropilot (drone technology), Magellan and Boeing (aerospace and defense), BOMImed (medical equipment) and Precision ADM (additive manufacturing) are just a few of the manufacturers booming in Manitoba right now. Transportation and heavy equipment manufacturers are important players on a world stage. Companies like New Flyer, Motor Coach, Price, MacDon and Versatile have contributed not just to our history, but are shaping the future with cutting edge products, high-tech solutions and opportunities for jobs. Manufacturing’s food producers are thriving too, as Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, Bothwell Cheese and Cornell Crème; not to mention award-winning Diageo Crown Royal Whiskey, take centre stage!

More than 60 submissions were received. By order of online popularity, here are the top 25 manufactured-in-Manitoba products this #Canada150:



1.     Fort Garry Fire Trucks

2.     Behlen Industries

3.     The Boler trailer

4.     New Flyer Industries

5.     Magellan Aerospace

6.     Conviron

7.     La Cocina Foods

8.     Rainbow Trailer

9.     Bothwell Cheese

10.  Boeing

11.  Ecopoxy

12.  Manitoba Havest Hemp Foods

13.  3M Canada

14.  Cornell Crème

15.  Norbert Manufacturing

16.  BOMImed

17.  Chemtrade

18.  Winkler Canvas

19.  FXR Racing

20.  McCain Foods

21.  Mondetta (MPG Sport)

22.  Morden’s of Winnipeg

23.  Springland Manufacturing

24.  Friesens Corporation

25.  Crown Royal Whiskey (Diageo)

CME is Canada’s oldest and largest national trade and industry association; working with manufacturers to help them grow with support and resources in the areas of Leadership & Executive Support, LEAN & Productivity, Advanced Manufacturing & Innovation, Trade & Business Development, Human Resources & Skills Development, Advocacy & Intelligence, Future Workforce, Safety and Networking.



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