🍨 Churning Up Harriston's Sweet Past: The Chronicles of Clover Cream and Beyond! 🍦
Step back in time to Harriston's sweetest era—the ice cream revolution that unfolded from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, a legacy that still leaves a lingering taste of nostalgia.
In the 1890s, Aaron Wenger pioneered a cold storage business, shipping butter to England in refrigerated rail cars—setting the stage for Harriston's ice cream odyssey. Enter Barney Whitmore in 1918, and the plant took a daring leap into the world of ice cream, captivating taste buds and sparking a local obsession.
J.S. McLean's acquisition in 1927 opened new chapters for Harriston's plant, integrating it into the Canadian food processing giant, Canada Packers. The late '30s witnessed an ice cream boom, with sales reaching 52,000 gallons in 1943. Despite wartime hurdles, the demand surged after sugar rationing lifted in 1947, hitting 93,000 gallons in 1948.
The plant underwent a sweet metamorphosis in 1948, birthing a larger facility that extended its reach to Toronto by 1949. The rebranded York in 1950, Harriston's ice cream became a household delight across southern Ontario. The '50s ushered in a new era as home freezers made ice cream a year-round indulgence.
Beyond the creamy swirls, the plant danced with butter and powdered milk production, becoming Harriston's largest employer by 1960. The '60s and '70s marked the pinnacle of the dairy plant's success, only to face a somber turn in 1979 when ownership changed hands.
In 1991, the final chapter unfolded—Ault Foods took over, and the curtain fell on Harriston's ice cream legacy. A major blow for the town and its workforce, leaving behind a cherished memory for those who recall the sweet taste of Harriston's ice cream from those golden years.
A scoop of history, served with a sprinkle of nostalgia! 🇨🇦🍦 #HarristonIceCreamSaga #SweetMemories
Credit: Wellington Advertiser, Stephen Thorning (Summarized by AI)
Now that you know a little bit of the history of Harriston I want to tell you how delighted I was to receive a stand for my sidewalk sign from Davie's Antiques that at one time belonged to an ice cream shop. Now, the ice cream shop I don't think was local but it's still ice cream related. You see the town is still quite proud of their history and because of that connection, when you come to visit in the summer you will be greeted with icecream metal ornaments at our welcome sign and throughout the downtown there are ice cream statues that are close to 5' tall all with individual themes. I just feel now I am connected to that theme which makes me feel good inside.
You'll have to read my next blog on my other coinsidential connection to the beginnings of Harriston and a map of Canada.