In a media release sent out today, Mayor Francis gives a fond a farewell to General Motors, which closes the doors of the only remaining GM plant in the city this afternoon. Here’s what the mayor had to say…
It is always a sobering time when a prominent industry leaves the corporate citizenship of our city, and the closure of the final General Motors operations here is especially significant for us all.
It was 91 years ago, in 1919, that the new entity which was to become the industrial giant called General Motors took its first step along Windsor’s roadway to becoming what we still are: Canada’s Motor City.
GM’s first Windsor presence was modest: a branch operation of the Fisher Body Company of Detroit. It was located on St. Luke Rd. in our Drouillard neighbourhood and employed only a modest number of workers.
But this was only the beginning. In succeeding years, General Motors of Canada established axle and engine plants, a vehicle assembly facility, a transmission plant, and in overall terms, spent billions of dollars and employed thousands of our working men and women.
Our GM plants were also front and centre in the manufacture and supply of matériel for the Allies’ victory in the Second World War.
In war and in peacetime, General Motors of Canada, with its various operations in Windsor, has been an integral and invaluable part of our city’s life.
I and the members of Windsor City Council are deeply concerned over the well being of those whose employments are terminated as a result. We pledge to continue our programs of diversifying our economy and to support efforts to retrain and re-employ the outstanding workforce which GM has assembled over the years.
We value General Motors’ many contributions to our city and we are also most thankful for the willing and countless community involvements of the company’s employees. Both have made Windsor a far better place.
With characteristic Windsor optimism, we look forward to the promise of new opportunities; we regard today’s departure of GM as a transition rather than an ending; and we know we can rely on the resilience of our people and their determination to succeed, whatever the circumstances.
We share our citizens’ regret at the closure of this chapter of our industrial heritage, but we know that our own resilience will make today an inspiration for the many exciting prospects ahead of us.