American Can Company

  • Year Built: 1929
  • Year Closed: 1991

For a building described as the one that ‘introduced art deco to Simcoe’ I had high hopes.

But, art deco? Where? The building I arrived at resembled an abandoned parking garage. Detailing — art deco or otherwise — was hard to spot in the building's advanced state of disrepair.

The American Can Company was built in 1929. The 3-storey factory was a high-volume manufacturer of — unsurprisingly — tin cans.

During World War II, the plant was repurposed to build artillery and shell casings. It was one of the larger employers in the area and operated until 1991 when the factory was closed. A few years prior (1988), the American Can Company had been bought by Ball Packaging.

Given that it was still in use in 1991, it's impressive how quickly the site has succumbed to natural elements. There were plans to renovate the building as a condominum in the early 1990s, but those plans failed to execute. With the roof removed, the wood and concrete floors have been exposed to rain and numerous freeze/thaw cycles. They're in pretty rough shape and the building is now considered too damaged for reuse.

A conversation with the owner revealed that brass ornamentation used to cap the columns and other details. However, the site had been picked clean in the previous two decades and was used as a sort of buffet for local scavengers.

I've yet to find photos of the building in its prime where that promise of ‘art deco’ might be fulfilled.