Davies rented a facility at Front and Frederick Streets, a few blocks east of St. Lawrence Market, and was able to purchase and expand the plant in 1875. Soon he was shipping millions of pounds of pork cured in salt annually. The William Davies building at 145 Front Street East, later occupied by the J. & J. Safeworks, still stands today.
In 1879, William Davies constructed a new facility further to the east, on the south side of Front Street at the Don River, which soon became the second largest pork processing plant on the continent. In addition to curing pork for export, he began slaughtering and processing hogs, and his business became the first continuous/moving rail hog-slaughtering facility in Canada. In 1891, the new plant was the first in Canada to feature an artificial refrigeration unit.
In many ways, Davies was responsible for establishing the modern Canadian pork industry. His efforts led to the establishment of the first Canadian Board of Agriculture, through which producers, processors and government officials could work together to expand the Canadian livestock industry.
As Davies had predicted in the 1850s, the firm's products did extremely well in the British market, and commanded higher prices that the offerings of American competitors due to the perception that they were of higher quality. By the 1890s, it was supplying over half of the entire Canadian bacon trade with Britain. The company's agent in Britain, John Wheeler Bennett, was known as the "Bismarck of the bacon trade".
The company was the first Canadian food producer to establish its own chain of retail meat and grocery stores. By the 1880s, it operated 84 retail outlets across Ontario.
In 1891, the business was reorganized as the William Davies Company Limited. By mid-1917, the majority of the shares were held by Sir Joseph Flavelle, a prominent Toronto businessman.
The company was particularly successful during the First World War. As a result of articles in the Canadian press suggesting that meat-packing plants were making excessive profits from the domestic market in wartime, the entire pork industry was the focus of much public outcry, including charges of excess profits and fraudulent meat curing practices. The federal government established a Royal Commission by Order-in-Council in July 1917 to investigate both the William Davies Company and Matthews-Blackwell Company Limited (the firms later referred to in the commission's report as "the principal dealers in Canadian hog products in the English market"). In November 1917, after a series of hearings, the commission cleared the two companies of any wrongdoing, noting that any exceptionally high profits during the war were subject to the federal government's war taxes.
Although the first William Davies plant still stands on Front Street in Toronto (albeit largely modified since its days as a pork curing facility), the last of the William Davies buildings by the Don River were demolished in the early 1990s in anticipation of the Ataratiri redevelopment project. Although Ataratiri never proceeded, the lands are currently being planned for redevelopment within the West Don Lands precinct of Toronto's waterfront.