After the Fleury Bissell Company left Aurora, the once lively manufacturing plant was left vacant – but not for long. In 1941, Leonard Grover purchased the western part of the property, including the buildings that were previously used as a machine shop, wood and paint shop, and boiler room (Aurora Banner, February 21, 1941). He opened up the Grover Shoe Company, but unfortunately it wasn’t successful and declared bankruptcy the following year (Aurora Banner, January 6, 1942). A couple of weeks after the Grover Show Company folded, all of the buildings – those bought by Grover and those still owned by the Fleury-Bissell Company – were leased to the Dominion Government.
To support the war effort, the old Foundry became home to the Number 2 Return Stores Depot, which was operated by the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps. The Depot was responsible for storing and distributing items to the military, including: clothing, equipment, tools, ammunition, artillery, and vehicles. At its height the Deport employed a total of 500 people – 300 military and 200 civilian.
In 1946, after the war was over, the Depot was closed and the government lease was terminated. By the late 1940s, Queen City Storage moved into the building. The sheer size of the old Foundry meant that multiple businesses could occupy it at one time and soon after Bacon Basketware began renting part of the space. Queen City Storage continued to operate out of the old Foundry until the 1960s when Bacon Basketware acquired the property – Bacon Basketware operates their business from the site to this day.
Established in 1947 by Sydney Bacon, Bacon Basketware began as an importer and wholesaler of willow baskets from Europe. Over time the company expanded its product scope to include containers made from a variety of materials. Rob Dales took on ownership of the company in 1995 – in 2016, at the age of 106, Mr. Bacon died. Currently, Bacon Basketware is more than a wholesaler of baskets – it has evolved into an importer of furniture, décor accessories, and a resource for display solutions.
Bacon Basketware has called the architectural footprint left by Joseph Fleury and his sons home for over 65 years and has, over time, made the space their own.