Lakefield is proud home to country’s largest firearms manufacturer

Lakefield in Eastern Ontario is known for its proximity to pristine countryside and beautiful lakes and cottages, but it is also famous for one other feature: the village is home to Canada’s largest firearms manufacturer.

Savage Arms Canada employs about 100 people at its Lakefield factory who are expected to make and distribute upwards of 185,000 rim-fire rifles around the world in 2012.

“We’re seeing expansion in demand,” says Terry McCullough, vice president and general manager of Savage Arms Canada.

Utica, New York-based Savage Arms ( bought Lakefield Arms in 1995 so that it would produce all of the company’s .22-calibre rim-fire rifles. At the time, the factory produced about 29,000 rim-fire rifles annually with 50 employees.

Most of its rim-fire rifles—rifles that fire their bullets by striking the rim of a bullet’s cartridge as opposed to the centre—are sold in the U.S., but some are sold in Canada and a few are sold elsewhere in the world.  Lakefield Arms had been in business since 1965 making inexpensive and reliable .22-calibre rim-fire rifles.

The .17- and .22-calibre rifles that Savage Arms makes at the Lakefield plant are popular for target practice as they are well known for their accuracy.  The small caliber size means the rifles don’t kick much when fired.

Savage Arms was formed in1894 by Arthur Savage of Utica, New York. The company sold affordable rifles. By 1920, Savage Arms was making high-power rifles, .22-calibre rifles, pistols, and ammunition. The company grew during the two World Wars and contributed millions of firearms to both campaigns.

Renato Romanin, Director of Business Development at the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corp., says Savage Arms is a key local employer.

“Savage Arms is a big employer in our community and we’re proud to have such a world-class manufacturer in our region,” says Romanin.