It’s the first real sign that things are coming to an end at Leamington’s Heinz plant.

On Friday, the first line inside the historic Heinz plant was decommissioned – from a hole cut into the factory wall, line 59 was pulled out. United Food and Commercial Workers local 459 president Rob Crawford says the red ketchup line was put on a flatbed and shipped off.

“Emotions are mixed inside the facility right now,” Crawford says.

Heinz is pulling out what it wants right now and the union expects more days like this one in the weeks ahead.

Crawford says in the first round of layoffs, 159 people will be let go on May 23. The final day of operations at Heinz is June 27.

Highbury Canco Corporation has signed a letter of intent to take over the plant where they will manufacture products for Heinz out of the Leamington facility.  The deal has yet to be finalized but details are expected soon.

“As expected during negotiations the due diligence process is going on fairly well and hopefully things will get settled soon,” says Canco spokesperson Pradeep Sood.

Crawford expects there will be a period of time when the plant will not be operating.

With only a few more months until the final day at Heinz, there is still much uncertainty and many questions to be answered.