Arvida's first ingots of aluminum were poured in 1926 and the plant rapidly became the largest in Canada. It took on even greater importance with the outbreak of World War II, growing from six to 38 pot rooms and supplying 90% of the Commonwealth's aluminum. The smelter and the Isle Maligne, Chute-à-Caron and Shipshaw II dams became critical structures in the Allied war effort. The possibility of a German attack was taken very seriously. Three scenarios were considered: sabotage of the plant's electrical power grid, a submarine attack on the Port Alfred port facilities and a suicide mission on Arvida using a plane filled with explosives.
To counter the threats, National Defence installed antiaircraft guns near the factory and dams. However, the greatest defence structure was the Bagotville military base, established in the summer of 1942. A year later, Arvida was the most heavily protected city in North America.
Photo: Anti-aircraft battery near the Alcan plant in Arvida, on the site of today's Moritz Park.