11/01/2012 06:14 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Toronto bakery to close after decades in business

An industrial bakery is going to turn off its ovens after decades of operation in Toronto's west-end, putting hundreds of people out of work.

Mondelez Canada Inc. announced Thursday that it will be closing the bakery located at the corner of Lake Shore Boulevard and Park Lawn Road in the fall of next year.

Employees at the bakery learned of the company’s plans on Thursday.

"Our focus right now is on our employees,” said Alvaro Cuba, the company's vice-president of operations.

"We're making this announcement almost a year in advance of the planned closure to help provide a smooth transition. We're committed to treating our people fairly and working with them through this difficult time."

The 625,000-square-foot bakery has been in operation since 1948.

Etobicoke-Lakeshore Coun. Mark Grimes said it was not yet clear if all of the 550 jobs will be eliminated as a result of the pending closure.

"We're going to lose a lot of them, but I think some will go the plants out in Scarborough — I don’t have those numbers — but some will go south of the’s a bad day, for not only my community, but for the City of Toronto."

Some employees who spoke to CBC News said they have been told they have 10 more months of work.

Mondelez Canada is owned by Mondelez International, a company whose food portfolio includes the Cadbury chocolate brand, Trident gum, Tang powdered beverages and Nabisco and Oreo biscuits.

The company has decided to close its Etobicoke plant because its location is no longer advantageous for its business operations.

"While this was an appropriate location for a large bakery when it was first built, the significant residential development surrounding it has led to operating constraints that will become increasingly difficult with the further residential expansion that is underway," Cuba said.

"With the facility's aging infrastructure, and underutilized manufacturing capacity, further investment is not a viable option. Therefore, we have determined it is best to close the facility because it no longer supports our strategy of making the most efficient use of our manufacturing assets."

Grimes and another Toronto city councillor said Thursday that they have seen a proposal to build condominium buildings on the land where the bakery currently stands.