Orenda Engines

Category Exploration Date Status Province / State Country
Industrial Demolished Ontario Canada


This is the site of the Orenda Engines factory. It was originally part of the CIL Munitions plant across the highway, but in 1949 became the home of testing for Canada's earliest jet engines.

Testing and development began with the Orenda Chinook engine. Designed originally for the CF-100 Canuck interceptor, it would also be used to replace the General Electric engine in the F-86 Sabre. The engine, rated as the most powerful engine in the world, would hold this title from 1949 until 1952.

In 1954, Orenda would begin testing the Iroquois engine, slated to be used in the CF-105 Arrow. At this point, the Iroquois would take over the title of the world's most powerful jet engine, as it produced over 25,000 foot-pounds of thrust.

UPDATE June 26, 2011: I stopped by here today for another look. The large concrete structures where the engines had been tested have been demolished. Not much left to see here now.

Personal Commentary: 

When I first visited this place we were under fire. Ok, so not as exciting as all that, but someone was, apparently, sighting in their rifle. Thankfully, they were aiming a different direction than where I was coming from.

As I walked in, I could see foundations and floors for various long-destroyed buildings throughout the woods surrounding me. Everywhere were signs of this having been a real hotspot of activity. It was almost strange to see it so devoid of anything more interesting than a hunter preparing for the season.

The concrete testing areas were probably the most prominent feature, with a silo toward the back of the property following a close number two. Further to the back was a long concrete wall, the purpose of which I couldn't even guess at.

But, like the Arrow itself, everything here is now gone.


Unveiling the Arrow - January 1, 1958 - CBC Archives:

The Arrow's Maiden Flight - March 30, 1958 - CBC Archives:

Avro Arrow Test Flight Accident - November 16, 1958 - CBC Archives:


My dad worked at this facility until Feb. 20, 1959. Our family lived in the housing development there and we were forced to move quickly after "Black Friday". Thank you for the picture, my dad just celebrated his 80th birthday and the Arrow had an immense impact on his life. He is very interested in any information and pictures we can locate.
-Tish Hunter Ford

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