The McLaughlin Carriage Co. was founded in 1869 by Robert McLaughlin with a carriage shop in Enniskillen. The business was successful and in 1879, McLaughlin moved the carriage business to Oshawa. The first location in Oshawa was at Simcoe and Richmond Sts. The business concentrated on manufacturing world famous carriages rather than wagons. The company was so successful that by 1889 it moved into the old Gibbs Brothers factory at William and Mary Sts.
In 1899 devastating fire almost destroyed the McLaughlin Carriage Company. While the actual business was still intact, the building itself was in shambles. Other cities were eager to take the successful, world renowned business away from Oshawa, but when Oshawa offered a loan of $50,000 interest free with 20 years to repay, McLaughlin refused to uproot the business. Instead, the McLaughlin Carriage Co. had a temporary location in Gananoque, Ontario while the factory was being rebuilt. Six months later, McLaughlin returned to Oshawa, continued to excel and by 1901, was turning out 25,000 carriages a year.