Canley is known as the site of the main factory of the Standard Motor Company and was all open farmland prior to 1916. The initial factory was built around "Ivy Cottage", near to the Canley Train Halt and was first used in 1916 to build First World War fighter aircraft. "Standard" cars were produced there from 1918 onwards. The factory continued to expand over the site throughout the 1920s and most significantly just prior to the Second World War when two additional "Shadow" Factories were added. Production of Standard and Triumph cars continued until car production ceased in August 1980 as part of British Leyland's rationalisation. Some of the site was retained as a technical centre until the mid-1990s but was successively demolished thereafter. A commemorative sculpture of the Standard-Triumph badge now stands on the site of the works, on Herald Avenue, close to the Standard Triumph Club, which is now the only remaining building to remind us of this vast industrial complex, where many thousands of Coventry people once worked.
Sir Henry Parkes (1815–1896), Australian statesman, five times Premier of New South Wales, was born in Canley, in a cottage off Moat House Lane. Canley Fire Station is in Sir Henry Parkes Road near to the A45. A school named after him in Canley has been demolished.