Approximately 1910 to Present
The introduction of motorized apparatus had a profound impact on the fire service. Gasoline powered rigs greatly reduced response time, especially on long runs where the horses would tire. As well as propelling the vehicle, the motor could supply pump power, generate electric lighting, or provide PTO power for hydraulics, etc. Motor apparatus quickly proved to be very cost effective. Their utilization led to lower manpower requirements on a per capita population basis than in the previous eras.

51 Bickle
1951 Bickle Seagrave Pumper

Fire apparatus builders used chassis built by Ford, General Motors Corp., Reo, and Gotfredson as the basis for their lines of pumpers, ladder trucks, etc. The larger companies building fire apparatus such as Seagrave and American LaFrance introduced their own custom units, designed and built “from the ground up” in their own factories. Both custom and commercial chassis were used from early times by Canadian departments.



1866 Amoskeag

1866 - Amoskeag Steam Pumper - Horse Drawn
1866 – Amoskeag Steam Pumper

This 1866 Amoskeag horse-drawn, steam-powered fire engine is our oldest engine. It was built in the United States and served in a US Navy shipyard.  It is a straight-frame, second size steam pumper.  Such steamers are rarely preserved but highly prized. This particular engine never served in Canada but others did. The same model once served in Windsor, Ontario.

1914 – American LaFrance

1914-American LaFrance Fire Truck
1914-American LaFrance

Our 1914 American LaFrance, Type 12 Combination pumper-chemical fire engine was originally purchased and operated by the Stratford Fire Department. The factory invoice for this truck is also in the museum’s collections.

This is the same model as our 1921 pumper that saw service in Toronto, but configured slightly differently.


1921 – American LaFrance

1921 - American LaFrance Fire Truck
1921 – American LaFrance

With a 6 cylinder engine and a 40 gallon chemical tank. Built for the Toronto Fire Department, this unit ran as “Engine #2” from 1921 to 1952.  It was used as a spare pumper from 1952 to 1954 and was then sold to Little Britain, Ontario.  In 1974, it was sold to K.J. Beamish, a vintage vehicle collector.  Donated to the museum in 1996.


1926 – Gotfredson

1926-Gotfredson Fire Truck

After serving in Midland, Ontario, this truck was purchased by Lorne Campbell, Editor and Founder of Canadian Fire Fighter Magazine.  With five years of restoration by Lorne and his wife, Ruth, it was donated to the museum in 2004.  “Rocky” (the truck) appeared in the Weston Santa Clause Parade for many years and has been featured in movies including Firehouse Dog and Amelia.


1941 – GMC / LaFrance

1941-GMC / LaFrance Fire Truck - Current photo and historic photo
1941-GMC / LaFrance Current photo and historic photo from Napanee

From the Napanee Richmond Fredricksburg Fire Department.  Restoration to this truck was paid for by Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company of Lindsay, Ontario.  The body of this truck was made by LaFrance Foamite.  It has an in-line 6 cylinder engine.  It still is operational and is the CFFM’s parade truck. It also had a brief film career in which it played the part of a fire truck in the City of Derry, for the Stephen King movie “It” during filming in Port Hope.


1941 – International

1941-International Fire Truck

Donated to the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum in 1997, this City Service Ladder Truck was operated by the Kenora Fire Department.  Kenora is in northwestern Ontario, close to the Manitoba border.  It has a pumping capacity of 500 gallons per minute and somewhat unusually, its hose load was carried on top of the truck.  It also carried an extensive complement of trussed wooden ground ladders.

This style of truck was used in smaller communities to fill the dual roles of both pumper and aerial trucks. Museum volunteer Donna Dumont fondly remembered climbing onto this actual truck as a child visiting the fire station in Kenora.


1945 – American LaFrance

1945-American LaFrance Fire Truck
1945-American LaFrance

The 1945 American – LaFrance.  Model: 585 – JOX Aerial Ladder.  Serial Number: L2101
Length: 41′ 10″  Weight: 21,680lbs
Engine: American-LaFrance V-12 model J.  527 cubic inch displacement.  200 horsepower
Dual Ignition: 2 distributors.  22 spark plugs per cylinder.  24 plug wires.

Only 110 of these were built from 1938 – 1946 in Elmira, New York.
This Aerial was in service with the New Toronto Fire Department from 1945 – 1967.  In 1967 the town of New Toronto was amalgamated with the Borough of Etobicoke, at which time, this Aerial was used as a spare until it was retired in 1973.


1948 – Bickle – Seagrave

1948-Bickle-Seagrave Fire Truck

This 1948, Sentry Series,  Bickle-Seagrave model 66E pumper from the Ottawa Fire Service featured an enclosed cab to protect its crew as well as its driver and captain, especially nice in winter. This truck was extensively rebuilt after a brick wall collapsed on it at a major fire it was attending.


1950 – Bickle – Seagrave

1950-Bickle-Seagrave Fire Truck. Current and historical photo.
1950-Bickle-Seagrave. Current and historical photo.

This 1950, Bickle-Seagrave 85 foot aerial came to the Canadian Fire Fighters Museum from the Vaughan Fire Service (lower photo).  It was running as recently as the July 1, 2004 Canada Day Parade  in Port Hope (upper photo).


1952 – American LaFrance

1952-American-LaFrance Fire Truck.
1952-American LaFrance

This 1952 LaFrance 710-PJC pumper was operated by the Toronto Fire Department. The 700 series trucks introduced the cab forward design for improved driver view, turning radius, overall balance and weight distribution. It was a very successful design that was used in many other models.


1953 Bickle Seagrave

1953 - Bickle Seagrave Fire Truck
1953 – Bickle Seagrave

Known as the “Six Nations” truck, this Bickle Seagrave short cab “70 th Anniversary Series” Pumper, model 400B was originally purchased by the RCAF, and later saw service in the town of Ohsweken (near Brantford) at the Six Nations Fire Department. It is currently on loan back to the Six Nations department.

1955 – Mack Thermodyne

1955 - Mack Thermodyne Fire Truck
1955 – Mack Thermodyne

This 1955 Mack Thermodyne B-85 Aerial saw service with the Ville de Québec fire service. The very compact design with its 85 foot, rear mounted European steel ladder was 10 feet shorter than other aerials of the day and ideal for the narrow streets of that city. It is one of only 4 such units ever sold into Canada and may be the last one remaining.


1956 – Thibault FWD

1956 - Thibault FWD Fire Truck
1956 – Thibault FWD

The museum’s 1956 Thibault 4×4 pumper served with the Val David Fire Department in Quebec. Thibault was a major Canadian fire apparatus maker. This is the only vehicle we have from them in our collection, and our only 4 wheel drive apparatus.