Orenda Family Day!

6 July, 2011

Orenda is the name of an Iroquois god, loosely translated it means ‘source of power’ and a somewhat appropriate name for a jet engine as well as the name of the company that builds jet engines. There has only been powered flight in this country since 1908 and for over six decades, Orenda Aerospace has been at the forefront of jet propulsion in Canada and around the world.

Every few years, Orenda, now a division of Magellan Aerospace, opens its doors to the families of its employees for a family day. On Saturday June 25, 2011, retirees returned to renew old friendships, grand daughters and grandson’s stared in amazement as their grandparents show them where they used to work and the components they made that still fly today!  

The walking tour of this sprawling plant, which has not changed much over 60 plus years, is like taking a walk through Canadian aviation history. The legacy of the Arrow is everywhere in this facility and it’s not just in the signs that hang from the rafters. It is in the conversations between retirees, it is the twinkle in the eye of a grandfather as he points to the Arrow model and tells his grandson that he once built components for the jet fighter! It is the knowledge that we once built something very special in this building and we’re still doing it today. Orenda is the last remnant of AVRO Canada – the only physical presence left standing from the pinnacle of Canadian aerospace achievement in the 1950’s – a testament to the skills, experience and adaptability of the people who have and continue to work here.

There is a feeling that pervades this place, an intangible better known as pride, something handed down through the generations from the retirees to the current workforce and on to their families – it all comes together on family day.

More than five hundred Orenda retirees, current workers and their family members attended Orenda Family day June 25, 2011. The most popular stop on the plant walking tour was the IAMAW exhibit. Not only did female tour participants receive flowers here, or you could do what Jean Wiley and Larry Legault did and scan the table for photos of friends and family from past events at the Derry Road facility.