View Full Version : Indian Factory in Toronto
07-24-2002, 10:59 PM
I was just in Toronto and decided to walk over to see if the old Indian factory on 12 Mercer St. was still standing. There's a fairly small building still on the site which looks like it dates to the early teens. This got me rather curious. Does anybody out there have any details about this largely forgotten piece of Indian history?
I've never seen anything of substance written about it, (numbers/types of bikes produced, old photos of the factory, years open, etc) and among other things, was wondering how one would know if his bike had been produced in Springfield or Toronto? Did they change anything on the motor numbering to indicate this?
The Indian factory at 12-14 Mercer St. in Toronto, Canada was open by 1913 and was used until the early 1920's when it was taken over by Booth Graphics who had been using some space as the Indian operation declined. Exernally, the building is much as it was around 1914. Inside, the UPS have the cellar where the machine shop was and the other floors have been converted to offices with partitions. The original freight elevator is still in place and functioning; it is big enough to hold about one bike at a time!
The factory was considered to be capable of making 5,000 motorcycles per year. the identical models to those produced in the US were made; the tank decals indicating "Indian, Toronto, Canada". There was also a "Made in Canada" decal on the front fender. Serial #s on the engines are in the same format as the Springfield series. Presumably a block of numbers for each model was assigned to Canadian production.
Photos show rows of parts and components being assembled into motorcycles around 1914. In August of that year, Canada entered WWI and while the Factory did produce some Indian motorcycles for the Canadian Army, they were found to be too heavy for use in the Flanders mud and were replaced by the lighter Triumph and Douglas bikes used by the British.
Several Indians in original paint and marked with the "Toronto, Canada" insignia are known to have survived.
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