Monday, June 27, 2011

Sekine Canada Ltd, A Brief History

Sekine Cycle was founded in 1912, grew over decades, and expanded during the 1960s. During the 1970s bike boom, Acklands Ltd of Winnipeg distributed Sekine bicycles in Canada. To avoid a 25% tariff on imports, Sekine Canada Ltd is established as a joint venture in 1973. A plant is built in Manitoba at the Oo-za-we-kwun Centre, located on the former CFB Rivers air base 240km west of Winnipeg. The plant employs mostly Native trainees, supervised by Japanese engineers. In 1976, the Rivers plant expands, with a yearly production target of 50,000 bicycles, employing nearly 100 people. In 1980, North American interest rates hit an all-time high, and Sekine Canada Ltd. undergoes a change in ownership. The Oo-za-we-kwun Centre is phased out by the government, and shuts down in 1981. Amid allegations of mismanagement, labor and cash flow problems, Sekine Canada enters difficult times. After a creditor calls in a debt, Sekine Canada goes into receivership, from which it never recovers. In January 1982, Sekine Canada Ltd's assets are sold off to pay outstanding debts.
Notoriously, after 1988 the old Sekine hangar site was occupied by a pig farm.

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