President and CEO, MHICA
Director of Operations, Aversan
Adjoining Pearson International Airport, a nexus of aerospace innovation and collaboration has developed that’s unlike any other in the world.
The biggest aerospace industry cluster in Canada can be found in the vicinity of Toronto Pearson International — the country’s largest airport. But don’t let the name mislead you — Toronto Pearson is not actually in Toronto but next door in Mississauga, where the circumstances are perfect for a culture of aerospace innovation to thrive.
Since the earliest days of the Silver Dart, which flew just three years after the Wright brothers took to the air in Kitty Hawk, Canada has been a global aerospace pioneer. Then, in the post-war 1940s, with the founding of Avro Canada and others, the industry began to call the area that’s now the City of Mississauga its home. The concentration of facilities and expertise that have developed there in the three-quarters of a century since has created a truly unique environment for the collaboration and cutting-edge development that makes Canada a sustained leader in the skies.
A truly international collaboration
At the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Canada Aerospace (MHICA) plant on Northwest Dr., Mississauga, workers are building wings and fuselages for Bombardier business jets. They’ve been shipping those parts to Bombardier’s Downsview and Montreal locations for years, but soon those deliveries will be going just around the corner to Bombardier’s new $400 million Mississauga facility, set to employ 2,000 workers when it opens in 2023. This investment from Bombardier is a clear testament to the benefit of co-location in an industry hotspot like Mississauga.
“Mississauga is a hub for this industry, making it easier for companies to innovate and be one step ahead of everybody because we collaborate so much and work so well together,” says Janet Wardle, President and CEO of MHICA. “And the airport is just a few minutes down the road. Being in Mississauga makes us more competitive as we look to diversify our customers.”
MHICA has been at its current location in Mississauga, since 2012, and in 2019, it nearly doubled the size of that facility. As a subsidiary of a Japanese multinational, the pancultural character of Mississauga was a huge contributing factor in drawing the company to the city. Wardle recounts that there are 66 flags hanging in the MHICA cafeteria, a testament to the many countries from which their workers have made the pilgrimage to this worldwide magnetic north for aerospace professionals.
Canadian innovation for a global aerospace community
Even as the city draws more talent and investment from all corners of the world, the homegrown aerospace industry continues to grow and thrive in this diversifying local supply chain. Aversan Inc., a multi-service engineering company that provides critical embedded systems and software for aerospace partners and other industries, has been based in Mississauga ever since the founding of the company in 2003. “Being in an aerospace hub is very, very helpful,” says Nikou Morshedi, Director of Operations at Aversan. “The projects we work on are complex and innovative. Co-location and collaboration build trust and efficiency, and that’s a big part of our success and our customers’ success.”
As the industry continues to boom back after the COVID-19 pandemic, the consensus is that there remain even more remarkable heights ahead. “There’s so much room for growth here,” says Nikou. “Mississauga has a great talent pool which sets us up for success and enables us to grow, expand, and diversify.”
The city itself is dedicated to paving the road for that tomorrow by promoting investment and supporting the many local aerospace organizations to which companies like Aversan and MHICA belong. This city is deeply proud of its rich aerospace history and enthusiastic about helping shape an innovative aerospace future.