Posted by: Media Manager | July 6, 2017

Compo – Cornwall’s Record Factory

Did you work at Compo or know someone who did?

Compo Records (Ontario) Ltd, a subsidiary of Compo Company Ltd, which in turn was wholly-owned by Decca Records, a division of MCA (Music Corp. of America) opened a plant in 1963 in Cornwall’s East Front on the former Nathan Copeland property at Boundary Road.

In 1969, the 57,000 sq ft plant employed 300 people on a three-shift, five-day per week basis. At the time, a large number of the Decca records sold in Canada were manufactured in Cornwall, especially those of the British Invasion artists, such as the Beatles.

Beatles albums produced in Cornwall include Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, Let it Be and others. Capitol Records soon realized that the RCA Victor Smiths Falls plant, which was older using less modern technology, couldn’t keep up with demand, so work was sub-contracted to Compo Cornwall. The Cornwall plant could complete the production process in less than a day at a time when 48 hour delivery was paramount.


Surrounded by records on the Shipping Room floor is Paulette Schmidt.

The second volume of The Beatles in Canada: The Evolution: 1964-1970 will feature an entire chapter on the Compo Cornwall plant, using photos from the Marcel Quenneville collection which is housed at your Cornwall Community Museum and Archives, thanks to a donation from Quenneville’s daughter, Barb.

Today researcher/author Piers Hemmingsen met with the Museum and Archives’ Don Smith to acquire more than 40 incredible historic images from the Compo Cornwall operation. Smith recently digitized a portion of the Quenneville collection for publication in Hemmingsen’s book, which is anticipated in late 2018.

Volume I – The Beatles in Canada: The Origins of Beatlemania, published in March of 2016, includes an entire chapter on Smiths Falls’ RCA Victor plant. According to Hemmingsen, “The object of the book was to tell the true story of how Canada got The Beatles on the map ahead of the US.” In Volume II, the Canadian story will continue, including highlighting Cornwall’s role.

Did you work at Compo or know someone who did? If so, Hemmingsen would like to hear from you. He’s wanting to connect with former Compo Cornwall employees who have stories to share of their time working there. It is hoped that some of the information can be incorporated in the upcoming book.

Smith will connect former employees with Hemmingsen. Contact him at cornwallhistory@outlook.com .

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