Heritage Highlights: History of the Winkler Creamery

Winkler Creamery

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By Ed Falk – Winkler has always been a commercial and business center. Almost on the day that the CPR created a railway siding north of the Village of Hoffnungsfeld in early 1892, the construction of places of commerce began.
A Morden Newspaper reported the following:
On 22 Sept. 1892 – “Flour Mill construction was complete.”
On 6 Oct. 1892 – “V. Winkler opens lumber business.”
On 16 Jan. 1893 – “Harms chopping mill is running.”
On 1 Feb. 1893 – “Post Office moves from Schanzenfeld to Winkler.”
On 9 Feb. 1893 – “New Bank opens on Railway Street.”
On 26 Sept. 1894 – “A fourth grain elevator is to be built.”
Many other businesses opened their doors within the next few years.
While the early businesses related to grain production and service to the many Mennonite villagers who first arrived in the “West Reserve” since 1875, another agriculture based industry was established in 1922, this was a creamery. (One supposes that up to this time most of the butter was supplied by the local farms or imported from other creameries.)
Most of the following is quoted from Winkler Creamery files located in the Archives.
In 1922 two gentlemen from Winnipeg established the creamery (It was referred to as a dairy.) in Winkler, on South Railway Avenue. Shortly after it was built the business was sold to Mr. Colt Hart, who managed the business from 1923 till 1939.
In 1939 the plant, which at that time produced only butter, was sold for $12,600.00. Mr. A. J. Friesen petitioned local farmers to form the Winkler Cooperative Creamery. The petition was taken to the Dairy Commission in Winnipeg and the Winkler Cooperative Creamery was registered. There were plans to produce cheese but the Co-op was told that those plans were not viable. Mr. A. J. Friesen managed the plant from 1939 to 1957.
In 1942 the Co-op purchased land at the site of the present City of Winkler Civic Centre. The new plant at this location manufactured, butter, ice cream, cottage cheese, fluid milk, and purchased and sold eggs under the brand name Gardenland. The business grew was reorganized and developed to the point where expansion required a new location, so in 1980 a new plant was built on Manitoba Road at a cost of about one million dollars. The name was changed to Manco at some point. In 1990 the plant was purchased by Saskatchewan Dairy Producers.
In 1996 it was purchased by Dairyland Foods and in 2001 Saputo Foods purchased the plant. Changes in local agriculture from milk production to other crops such as potatoes, beans and canola were at least in part of reason for Saputo to cease operations and close the creamery on 10 Jan. 2001.
(At some point in time all of the records of this industry including Minutes of meetings, photographs, prize ribbons for butter from were deposited at the Winkler Heritage Archives. Anyone wishing to have research the story of this Industry is welcome to do so.)

Winkler Creamery

Winkler Creamery

Heritage Highlights, supplied by the Winkler Heritage Society, introduces readers to the people, places and things that still impact us today. The Winkler Heritage Museum is located in the Southland Mall and is open Tuesday to Friday, 12 to 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 am – 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. t Thursday evenings. The Archives located in the Winkler Centennial Library are open Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.. For appointments call archivist Ed Falk at 204-325-8929. The Stones and Stories binders are on display at both locations. Come for a visit! One way of showing support for the Winkler Heritage Society (Archives, Stones & Stories and Museum) is by becoming a member of the Society. Forms may be picked up at both the Archives and Museum.

 

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