Bittersweet Build: GM Oshawa’s last pickup raffled off to plant employees

Oshawa, Ontario — When Oshawa, Ont.’s General Motors assembly plant shuttered its doors in December, the plant donated the last truck to roll off the assembly line to a raffle for plant employees, with all proceeds supporting the Durham Region Children’s Aid Foundation.

The pickup⁠—a 2019 GMC Sierra⁠—rolled off the assembly line on Dec. 18, marking the end of more than a century of vehicle production at the Oshawa plant. Michel Roy, from Bowmanville, Ont. and was stationed at the plant for nine years working for parts supplier Ceva Logistics, was named the lucky winner after buying just one solitary raffle ticket.

“I was very shocked when I got the phone call and was told I was the winner, knowing that I could have a piece of the plant’s history” Roy told a local news source. “I’ve never won anything like this before. It’s very emotional to own this vehicle. It’s bittersweet.”

The raffle raised more than $115,000 for Durham’s Children’s Aid Foundation, selling more than 8,000 raffle tickets.The dollars raised through the raffle will support programs like summer camps, bursaries and holiday programs via the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation, said Foundation signature events co-ordinator Leslie McLean.

Roy picked up the truck from Motor Mills in Oshawa on Jan. 31. He has marked the historic win with custom plates reading, “LAST1SAM,” in a tribute to GM Canada’s founder, Robert Samuel McLaughlin.

With his win, Roy will forever be reminded of his time⁠ at the GM plant⁠—and he surely won’t forget about his colleagues anytime soon. Beneath the GMC Sierra’s hood and door panels lay dozens of signatures from the assembly workers who played a part in building the truck.

Roy admitted that he always dreamed of owning and driving a Sierra, but he has zero intentions of wracking up mileage on his big win.

“I’m going to preserve it and keep it in its original condition, if possible,” he told CTV News. “For me, it’s about the sentimental value and the history behind the workers.”

About 2,600 hourly GM employees lost their jobs when the plant closed, as well as hundreds of others who worked for automotive parts suppliers, like Roy. The plant had been in operation since 1907, producing Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, Chevy Impalas, the Cadillac XTS, Buick Regal, Chevy Camaro, and others in recent years.

The Oshawa plant is currently undergoing a transformation project, which will see part of the site become a testing track for autonomous vehicles.

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