Canada-based Maple Leaf Foods closed its Courtland Avenue production facility in Kitchener, Ontario, what is said to be the largest plant in its legacy network. The decision to close the facility was announced in October 2011 as part of the company's plan to significantly increase competitiveness and efficiency throughout its prepared meats network. 

"While today marks the end of one era, it is a critical milestone in establishing Maple Leaf as a sustainably competitive and profitable Canadian food company," says Michael McCain, president and CEO. "We are well along with transitioning production to our new, state-of-the-art facility in Hamilton and realizing the benefits of our modernized network. I want to personally thank all of our employees in Kitchener who displayed tremendous pride and dedication through a difficult and emotional transition. The Schnieders brand will always be an integral part of our company and history."

The Courtland Avenue facility was originally constructed in 1924 and owned by Schneider Foods. Production was transferred throughout Maple Leaf's network, primarily to a new, state-of-the-art, 400,000-square-foot prepared meats plant in Hamilton, Ontario.

This is the seventh of eight legacy plant closures planned as part of Maple Leaf's modernization plan. In the past four years, the company has built its new production plant in Hamilton, invested in new technology and expansions at existing facilities in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Brampton, and built a new 282,000-square-foot distribution center in southwestern Ontario. Simultaneously, the company simplified its product portfolio to realize scale efficiencies and moved from multiple operating systems to one integrated platform.