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Canadian Vickers Limited was an aircraft and shipbuilding company that operated in Canada during the early part of the 20th century until 1944. A subsdiary of the UK parent, it built its own aircraft designs as well as others under licence.



British ship building and weapons manufacturing conglomerate Vickers Sons & Maxim was invited by the Government of Canada in 1911 to establish a Canadian division to manufacture vessels for the nascent Royal Canadian Navy. Vickers Sons & Maxim established Canadian Vickers Ltd. and constructed a shipyard in the east end of Montreal.

A Vickers Vedette replica at the Western Canada Aviation Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

This shipyard would go on to produce many civilian and military ships in Canada, including:

Canadian Vickers also manufactured luxury yachts [1] and vessels.


Canadian Vickers ventured into aircraft manufacturing in 1923 when it won a contract to supply Vickers Viking flying boats to the recently formed Canadian Air Force. Between 1923 and 1944, Canadian Vickers produced over 400 aircraft, some of which were original Vickers' designs while the remainder were other manufacturers' designs built under license.

Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso A at RIAT, England in 2009. A version of the PBY-5A Catalina, this aircraft was built in 1944 for the Royal Canadian Air Force

In July 1941, the Canadian government awarded Canadian Vickers a contract to produce PBV-1 "Canso" amphibians (a version of the Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat) for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). To speed Canso production, the government authorized construction of a new manufacturing facility at Cartierville Airport in Ville Saint Laurent, on the north-western outskirts of Montreal, and appointed Canadian Vickers to manage the plant's operation on the government's behalf. Independently Boeing also produced Catalinas in Canada.

In 1944, business pressure compelled Canadian Vickers to ask the government to relieve it of its management responsibilities regarding the Cartierville plant. Ottawa agreed and entered into a management contract with Canadair Limited, a new company founded by a small group of former senior Canadian Vickers personnel headed by Benjamin W. Franklin (no relation to his famous namesake). On 4 November 1944, Canadair Limited took over operation of the plant. In September 1946, Canadair Limited and the plant were acquired by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut.

In 1952, Electric Boat bought Consolidated Vultee and combined it, Canadair, and several smaller companies to form General Dynamics Corporation. General Dynamics later became one of the largest U.S. aerospace corporations. Canadair remained a General Dynamics subsidiary until January 1976 when it was re-acquired by the Canadian government.

In December 1986, the government again sold Canadair, this time to Bombardier Inc., a Quebec-based international conglomerate. Today, Canadair itself no longer exists having been absorbed into Bombardier Aerospace.


Canadian Vickers aircraft designs

License Production

Other Aircraft Work

  • Fairey F-IIIC built for transatlantic attempt.
  • Felixstowe F-III built for transatlantic attempt.
  • Buhl Airsedan engineering work for Ontario Provincial Air Service.
  • Handley Page Hampden component manufacture.
  • R-100 airship repairs.


  1. ^ "Christina O, built by Canadian Vickers." YPI , 22 September 2008. Retrieved: 23 September 2008.
  • Campbell, Patrick J. At the End of the Final Line - A Brief History of Aircraft Manufacturing at Canadian Vickers and Canadair from 1923 to 1984. Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue: Shoreline, 2006. ISBN 1-896754-49-X.
  • Milberry, Larry. Aviation in Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-082778-8.


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