Photo-Tom Edwards–My great aunt and uncle Johnny and Essie Erskine.
Sometime ago I wrote about the Carleton Place meat lockers and someone asked me about the Almonte ones.. Here you go..
The 1950s family home was very different from today. Housework was more difficult, as for example people did their washing by hand, instead of in a machine, and without fridge-freezers food had to be bought daily. It was less common for married women to work and many took on the childcare and housework, while their husbands went to work.
In the mid-1900s, individual families did not have their own freezers to store food and it was custom for rural families to take their meat to the local meat locker as there was no electricity. When they needed meat they would visit their local meat locker and take home just what they needed for a day or two. In 1946 there were only 6 freezers sold in the country and in 1959 there was a recorded 94 sold.
One of the most important real estate transfers to take place in Almonte for some time was consummated last week when Mr. John L. Erskine purchased the goodwill, assets and building of the Almonte Co-Operative Cold Storage Company. In July of 1943 a limited company was incorporated to conduct a cold storage business in the big stone building formerly owned by the late Wesley West, general merchant. The primary object of the promoters, mostly fur farmers, was to provide feed for their business.
As a side line they installed, 486 lockers for storing perishable foods and this was a great success from the beginning. At the present time all these units are rented and it is proposed to create more of them. Mr. Milton Symington has been the manager of the plant during the years that have passed since its inception. He will be retained in that position and it is understood the new management proposes to adopt a more aggressive
policy and to expand along various lines.
Some two years ago the cold storage people added a wholesale and retail meat department to its other avenues of business. When times return to normal it is said
they will move this shop from the rear of the present building to a new structure which will be built on the vacant lot on their east side.
The Cold Storage plant has an ideal location for business in Almonte being located at the foot of Mill Street. It has a large yard with horse sheds and other outbuildings.
It is possible to drive through this from Mill Street to Farm Street.
When the Almonte Fur Farmer’s Co-Op, out of which the IGA now operates, went bankrupt in 1947, he bought it. The stone building on the corner of the Heritage Mall parking lot and Mill Street was a cold storage plant, equipped with over 500 lockers in use for storage of meat and government butter supplies. While the purchase was made by Mr. Erskine it is rumored that he may have a few partners in the new enterprise. The reason that the stockholders wished to dispose of the plant was that it was somewhat out of their line as fur farmers and they were satisfied so long as it would be carried on in a way that would assure them a supply of properly refrigerated food for their mink, foxes and chinchillas.
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