Milbury wrote that "Like the DC-3 and Beech 18 the commercial Cansos were stalwarts, backing the HUT airlift, the Mid Canada Line and the DEW Line. They hauled fish in Manitoba, fuel in the high Arctic, sportsmen on the northern B.C. coast and school children in James Bay.They bombed forest fires from Vancouver Island to Northern Saskatchewan to Newfoundland. Seemingly irrepressible, several Cansos remained at work in the late 1990s fire bombing for Buffalo Airways in the Northwest Territories." For example PQM was in service in the NWT in 1996, however by 1997 there were only about ten still in service.
In total manufacturers in Canada, the U.S. and Russia produced 3,431 PBYs which is a record for flying boats. The Canadian Cansos were built by Boeing Aircraft of Canada in Vancouver or Canadian Vickers Ltd. inCartierville. For fire bombing some were fitted with two 350 gallon external tanks but some, like NLF were fitted with an internal 800 gallon tank. In 1946 an RCAF Canso carried fuel in one 730 gallon tank and spraying chemicals in the other. FAR tankered fuel in its tanks or in drums to the north country for Austin Airways; later it flew groups of 24 fishermen passengers to the northern B.C. coast and later still flew groups of fifteen luxury passengers on trips from Cairo along the Nile to Victoria Falls. GLX is immortalized in a painting by Ron E. Lowry in a setting along the remote B.C. coast.
Except for very early models of the PBY-4 transparent blisters were installed in place of sliding doors for the waist gun positions. In the pictures of FCRR, FPQM and FGLX the process has been reversed and the blisters have been removed in favour of panels which the owners believed were more suitable for spraying operations.