The final vehicle to be produced at the General Motors plant in Oshawa will roll off the assembly line sometime today, bringing an end to more than a century of automobile manufacturing at the facility.
General Motors initially announced the closure of the plant in November 2018 as part of a company-wide restructuring that also included the closure of four other facilities in the U.S.
The move was expected to result in the elimination of 2,600 jobs, though the company has since announced plans to keep about 300 jobs at the facility by converting it to a stamping and sub-assembly operation. GM will also convert part of the plant into a test track for its autonomous vehicles.
“I am going to miss it. I am kind of emotional leaving because it has always been my life. It was the only place I have every worked, as soon as I was a teenager, and it has been a great, great place to work,” Al Nice, who has worked at the plant since 1967, told CP24 as he showed up for his shift on Wednesday morning. “I am getting to the age where I was going to retire anyway but I feel bad for a lot of the younger ones in the middle there that don’t have enough years to fully retire and they need to find other jobs.”
General Motors has been producing vehicles in Oshawa since 1918 and opened the current plant in 1953.
Over the years, the plant has produced dozens of different models of vehicles, including the Chevrolet Impala, the Chevrolet Equinox, the Cadillac XTS and for the last two years the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
“It is the end of an era but you have to stay positive and look forward to maybe better technology for the future,” another worker told CP24 on Wednesday. “Yeah it sucks that this place is leaving but you also have to stay optimistic that there is going to be something else back here.”
It is not clear precisely when the last vehicle, a GMC Sierra, rolls off the production line at the plant but GM has said that it is expected to happen sometime today.