Profiting the Crown: Canada's Polymer Corporation, 1942–1990


303 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-2815-6
DDC 338.7'67872'0971




Reviewed by Barb Bloemhof

Barb Bloemhof is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport
Management at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.


Profiting the Crown is a thorough chronology of the industrial
activities of Polymer Corporation (one of many industrial initiatives
for which Canadians can thank C.D. Howe and developments in Canadian
industry), with a focus on the synthetic rubber sector. Investing in
risky and untested technology, Canada’s minister of many things over
the war years selected effective entrepreneurs to develop a strategic
commodity for the war effort. Polymer went on to be the best example of
a profitable Crown corporation in Canada’s history, branching out
internationally and into new synthetic rubber technologies even as its
technology was imitated in other jurisdictions.

Bellamy has provided significant detail on the background and education
of key figures in the company’s history, perhaps more detail than is
needed to adequately understand the successes and challenges of Polymer.
For example, it is not clear that the symbolism of the car is essential
to the story. Yet the author writes so as to make such extensive detail
captivating, using a well-paced, economical writing style. In rare
places, his claims are incredible, as in the claim that offshore federal
subsidies would be declined by Polymer on the strength of the values of
the hands-off Mr. Howe. However, this does not diminish the contribution
that Profiting the Crown makes to the analysis of Canadian industrial
development and innovation in Crown organizations.


Bellamy, Matthew J., “Profiting the Crown: Canada's Polymer Corporation, 1942–1990,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 22, 2024,