928, Friday November 9, The Almonte Gazette front page John Neilson Passes After A Brief Illness Was One of the Outstanding Citizens of Almonte for Many Years Was Born on the Pioneer Homestead of the Neilsons in Ramsay. He was 78 Years of Age. His Wife Died 22 Years Ago.
Almonte has lost a valued and honoured citizen, in the death of Mr John Neilson, who passed away on Sunday evening. His death was a great shock to the town and district, for he had been ill only a few days. Mr Neilson was one of the outstanding citizens of the town, and was held in the highest esteem by a very large circle of friends, both in town and throughout the surrounding district. He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs James Neilson and was in his 79th year. Born in March 1850, in the old pioneer homestead on the 12th line Ramsay, where his grandfather, John Neilson, who came out from Scotland, settled there in the year 1820. Mr Neilson later moved to the 11th line Ramsay, where he successfully followed the occupation of farming for many years until he retired in 1916 and moved to Almonte, where he had since resided.
Active Church Worker In religion the late Mr Neilson was a staunch Presbyterian. he took an active part in church work, and was a member of the Board of Session for many years. At the time of church union he held the opposite view and adhered to the Continuing body of that denomination and was a member of the Session of that church, up to the time of his death. He was predeceased by his wife, Janet McIlquam, who died twenty-two years ago, in May 1906. He is survived by four sisters, Agnes, Mrs Wilkie, of Toronto, widow of the late Rev John Wilkie, formerly of Indore, India; Marion, Mrs David Forgie, of Cleveland, Ohio; and the Misses Sarah and Jessie, both of whom resided with him at the family home here. Two brothers Matthew and William, and two sisters, Margaret and Mary, died some years ago.
The Funeral The funeral took place on Tuesday from the family residence to the Presbyterian Church, and thence to the Auld Kirk Cemetery. Impressive services were conducted by the Rev W.H. McCracken, assisted by Rev George Thom. Mr McCracken made reference to the high character and staunch personality of the deceased elder, and there was a large congregation of mourners, many coming from long distances to pay a final tribute of respect and friendship. There were many floral offerings and messages of sympathy. The pallbearers were: Messrs Stanley Neilson, Montreal; James Neilson, Toronto; John Neilson, Welland; Robert Neilson, Ottawa; George McCallum, Carleton Place, all nephews of deceased, and Mr W. D. Aikenhead, of Pakenham. Contributor: Gary J Byron (49329383)
This is your photo of the day sent to me by Tammy Marion– The poster swore it was NOT photo shopped. What say you? Linda always believes the McNeelys… As Gary Box said: “Trust the McNeelys to always be thinking ahead”
Xurk Mcneely posted the photo on Facebook March 18 at 12:47 PM · Lanark 1880 back before it was illegal ..
Tweed in Smiths Falls-Since 2014, they’ve been producing high-quality cannabis products for tens of thousands of Canadians.
Over 4.3 million square feet of indoor and greenhouse cultivation space in Canada, and have partnered with experts in the industry, international growers, and more.
Did you know..—photo 1905. your Canadian fact of the day.. Hemp was grown throughout the western and central provinces of Canada well before confederation. It is known that hemp was grown under the French regime, and was the first crop to be subsidized by government. In 1801, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada distributed hemp seeds to farmers. Edward Allen Talbot, Esq., while living in the Canadas during the 1820s wrote “Five Years’ Residence in the Canadas”. Talbot wrote that if Canada produced enough hemp to supply Britain, this would end their dependence on a foreign power and greatly benefit Canadian settlers. In 1822, the provincial parliament of Upper Canada allocated £300 for the purchase of machinery to process hemp and £50 a year over three years for repairs. The 1923 budget offered incentives to domestic producers. Mr. Fielding, finance minister said that there was a market in Canada and with some government encouragement a mill could be established in Manitoba to draw from crops in the vicinity. There were six hemp mills in Canada at the time, and the government financed a seventh, the Manitoba Cordage Company.
Tweed- it’s about more than just growing seeds into plants. It’s about starting a conversation and opening minds to fresh perspectives. And, perhaps most of all, it’s about becoming a part of the fabric of every neighbourhood that welcomes
Mother plants- they are constantly working to refine well-known strains from around the world, while also breeding proprietary genetics.
Hemp fact number 1
It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800s. Hemp was not the only crop a person could use for paying taxes. Tobacco, cotton, lumber and alcohol have all been used as currency in the United States as well. The reason for making it legal tender was to encourage farmers to grow more. You could then pay your taxes with cannabis hemp throughout America for over 200 years.
Hemp fact number 2
At one time hemp was legal. Not only was it legal, the law required the growing of it. In fact, refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was actually against the law. You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769. Imagine that.
Hemp fact number 3
The first crop to grow in many American states was industrial hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky, producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th century. With 80% of all textiles, fabrics, clothes, linen, drapes, bed sheets, etc., being made from hemp, it was one of the hottest crops for farmers to grow.
Things were a lot fancier than today. In the United States and Europe, the use of cannabis resin and tinctures was associated with orientalism, a romantic notion of the exotic lands of the East, where exotic people did exotic things, while dressed in exotic silks and eating exotic foods. It was completely over the top.
Around 1854, Fitz-Hugh Ludlow, a student at Union College in Schenectady, New York purchased a Tilden & Company’s Indian Hemp Extract from his local apothecary. This cannabis tincture was claimed to fight off everything from rabies to tetanus. Ludlow had read of “hasheesh eaters” in a popular magazine account written by Bayard Taylor in Putnam’s Magazine. Young Ludlow started consuming massive amounts of this drug, and found himself hallucinating Silk Road palaces filled with panjandrums right there in upstate New York. In his own words,
“from Greece to farthest China, lay within the compass of a township; no outlay was necessary for the journey. For the humble sum of six cents I might purchase an excursion ticket over all the earth; ships and dromedaries, tents and hospices were all contained in a box of Tilden’s extract.”
Yes, he was so high that he was hallucinating ships and camels… what they call “Johnny Cash eating cake in a bush” high.
Hershey Employees final donation to the Smiths Falls Legion Branch 95, on July 6th 2010
Photo-Brent WhitenHershey Friends and Family
The Former Hershey Factory in Smiths Falls:
It was a 470,000 sq. ft. chocolate factory opened by The Hershey Company in 1963 and was the first Hershey plant to be opened outside the United States.
Grand Opening 1962 The Rise The story begins in 1960 when the Smiths Falls Chamber of Commerce stood at the end of one street in Smiths Falls attempting to stop the first car with foreign licence plates. They devised the clever plan so they could hopefully sell the occupants of the car on the town. The first car they stopped happened to contain the occupants of the Hershey Chocolate Company looking to open a new Canadian facility– and by 1961 construction had started.
Smiths Falls was selected because of its adequate source of labour, plentiful supply of milk, water, and its location with direct railway lines. It was also situated conveniently between the main marketing areas of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. On June 16th, 1963 the Smiths Falls Hershey plant was officially opened.
The Smiths Falls factory was the first to incorporate a Visitors Gallery which was an elevated walk way where visitors could view the factory’s production. The Visitor Gallery received over 960 visitors on opening day, and the Smiths Falls facility was also the first plant opened outside Lancaster, PA.
The Smiths Falls facility began with 200,000 square feet of production space capable of producing 200,000 bars a day. Its first products produced at the factory were 5 and 10 cent chocolate bars, instant chocolate, cocoa, chocolate chip and chocolate syrup. In 1965 Hershey’s introduced the Peanut Butter Cup and production lines where soon added to the Smiths Falls plant. By 1966 the plant had employed around 105 people.
High Sales In the mid 70’s the cost of a chocolate bar had risen to 25 cents a bar and sales for the Smiths Falls plant had reached approximately $20,000,000 dollars per year.
Arsonist Attack On March 17th 1973, a lit flair was thrown through a window into the plant which subsequently set the factory’s bean warehouse on fire. There was no major damage done to the facility and the fire was under control within a few minutes..
The 1989 Expansion During 1989 a new warehouse was constructed allowing the factory to store more goods.
Freezer Snacks—On December 31, 1996 Hershey Canada purchased the shares of Leaf Canada Inc. acquiring the rights to Mr. Freeze (a water based freezer snack). In 1998 all of the freezer snack production moved to the Smiths Falls plant.
The Plant’s 3 Millionth Visitor On Feb 7th, 1998, three year-old Garett Sanderson became the factory’s 3 millionth visitor, a huge milestone for the plant’s shop, and on August 13th, 1998, the plant received 86 visitor buses, a new record.
The 2001 Shop Expansion During the late 90’s it was discovered that the Smiths Falls factory store was inadequate, and during 1999 and 2000 plans were made to expand the plant’s store. Construction for the new shop was done throughout spring 2001, and on July 19th, 2001, the newly renovated shop was officially opened. The 2001 – 2006 Plant Renovation Between 2001 and 2006 Hershey’s spent over 100,000,000 US dollars modernizing the plant and its production lines.
The 2004 Strike On March 14th 2004, Hershey workers went on strike, demanding they receive the same benefits of their American counter parts.
Record Numbers of Visitors Throughout 2005 the plant received 450,000 visitors, the largest amount of visitors in a year.
The Contamination On November 9th, 2006, salmonella was detected on a routine inspection of the plant which prompted a recall and the plant and shop had to be temporally closed. The source of the salmonella was confirmed to be soy lecithin, a product used to help chocolate retain its sheen. It seems the soy lecithin got contaminated at some point during shipping, possibly due to improperly refrigerated shipping containers. The Hershey Co. attempted to sue the supplier of the soy lecithin, but was unsuccessful due to a contract which stated: “All contents of sale is final”.
More Contaminated Goods In 2009, some of the contaminated goods were stolen from a recycling plant where they were set to be destroyed and they managed to find their way back onto store shelves in Eastern Toronto. The thieves where caught and fined. There was also a separate case of 2 young teenagers finding a box of the contaminated products in a dumpster and bringing them to school. Thankfully the teachers caught them right before anyone had consumed any of the contaminated chocolate. Hershey slowly rehired 200 workers to help sanitize the plant, and by December 2006 the plant was back up and running.
The Closure On February the 11th 2007, Hershey announced the Falls plant would close. The closure of the plant was part of a global restructuring plan. Hershey confirmed the plant would remain open throughout 2007 and 2008 although production would slowly be fazed out.
The Rally Against The Closure On February 24th 2007, Hershey workers, the Canadian Autoworkers Union, and local residents of the surrounding area’s joined forces in a rally in front of the Hershey factory tried to prevent the now impending closure. Unfortunately, the rally did not change the company’s decision to close the 47 year-old complex.
The Final Closure By late November 2008 the plant was only running at 20% capacity. This was largely due to a high Canadian dollar, which had been caused by the 2008 recession. On December 23rd 2008, the factory’s production shutdown along with the associated shop. Hershey’s would then open a new plant in Monterrey, Mexico.
Results of the Closure The closure of the Smiths Falls plant caused a 650 worker layoff combined with spin off jobs such as producing dairy and packaging for the plant.
The Auction In the summer of 2009 Hershey sold off 76 million dollars of former chocolate and confectionery equipment to local plants as well as plants in countries as far away as Africa and China.
“Aquablue” During that time a company named “Aquablue” announced it would be opening a water bottle plant in the former Hershey plant and possibly hire over 200 workers. They also said that they would open a recycling plant as well and an amusement park which would bring in as many tourists as Hershey did.
By 2011 Aquablue still hadn’t purchased the Hershey plant and it was revealed that the company’s CEO had transferred over $100,000,000 dollars in investors money into his personal account. The water bottling plant never opened, and the building sat vacant.
Sold On May 24 2012, the plant was finally sold to Icon international. The building was listed in 2009 for around 10 – 9 million Canadian dollars and it was puchased in 2012 for an estimated 2.6 million.
Close Call to Demolition. In 2013 plans were being written to demolish the plant, and in November 2013, Tweed Inc. along with Saumure Building Group purchased the plant and it’s exterior building.
“Tweed & Saumure Building Group” In 2014 Tweed Inc. transformed the plant’s former shipping room into a medical marijuana grow-op. Construction on the grow-op continued through 2015 although useage was only around 1/3 of the plant’s space.
“Summit Energy” In January 2015 Summit Energy Inc. announced it would be taking over the former peanut production section of the plant and hiring around 20 workers. Summit Energy had plans to covert plastic waste such as water bottles to diesel. However residents living near the plant had concerns about a potential fire or dangerous fumes in the air. Trying to rezone the old factory also had its issues and by March 2015 plans for the waste to diesel plant ended.
The Tweed Expansion In spring 2016 Tweed announced it would be expanding its operations for the impending legalization of marijuana. On December 24th 2016, Tweed purchased the rest of the former Hershey plant from Saumure building group and investors.
As of 2017 is unclear as to what will happen with all of the ex-Hershey confectionery equipment and former tour infrastructure, but according to Tweed they have big plans for the empty building.
Hello from Montreal Linda, well compiled article, i’m hoping you can help me solve a mystery. Only a couple years ago i could purchase hersheys chocolate syrup (sauce?) in a small yellow can, i believe it had a picture of a chocolate sunday on the front. I used to save the cans and put nuts n bolts in them etc but threw them all out. Now not only can i not find this product aanymore, i can’t even find a picture of one of these cans on the internet. Tell me i’m not crazy please, and if you have a pic please email me! Thanks Mike–
In 2009 The U.S. Hershey company shuttered its plant after 45 years. In 2010 the town, which is not particularly flush with cash, is spending $170,000 to repaint and repair an iconic water tower that declares the city of 9,000 the “Chocolate Capital of Ontario.
The water tower had a Hershey’s chocolate bar and it said “Chocolate Capital of Ontario.” Given that Hershey had left the community, it was time for them to go forward and remove that.
It is always great to hear about small town successes. Congratulations to Hummingbird, the chocolate makers in Almonte! Nothing but a fantastic news story about two very good people, a passion, chocolate and wanting a better world.
Hummingbird won a gold, three silvers and two bronze — are part of the Academy of Chocolate, a group formed in Britain a decade ago to promote a better understanding and appreciation of “bean to bar” chocolate and the ethical sourcing of cocoa beans.
Hummingbird, operated by just four people including the Gilmours, won gold for its Hispaniola bar, made with beans from the Dominican Republic. Other gold-medal winners in the “Dark Bean to Bar” category include such top international brands as 26-year-old Amedei company, from Italy, and the 68-year-old Michel Cluizel company, based in Paris.
Another family chocolate company, Manitoulin Chocolate, was once interested in Carleton Place, and sadly the idea was not welcomed the way it should have been–or could have been.
“We have been closely watching the reactions, forums, and comments throughout the process, as well as the unfortunate closing of so many businesses in Carleton Place’s downtown recently,” McKeen said. “Several aspects of Carleton Place were not as they seemed to us a year or two ago”.
Manitoulin Chocolate also raises awareness of the issues surrounding fair trade cocoa production, build crowd sourced resources for conscious consumers, and creates a community of chocolate lovers. We could have been that community!
As someone said in the Citizen Newspaper today:
“Time for a drive to Almonte I suppose then”!
Not that I don’t love you Almonte, but I really wish that could be Carleton Place:(
Congratulations Erica and Drew!! I am so happy that the two of you are making such a great success out of your company!
All these years I have heard that Carleton Place turned down the Hershey Chocolate factory, and as I was doing research for the Dunlop story I found what really happened in an article in the 1961 Ottawa Citizen. So let’s correct this story once and for all. Carleton Place at one point in 1961 had no idea how they lost out the $7,000,000 chocolate plant to Smiths Falls until the Carleton Place Industrial Commission went looking for answers.
It seems that the main reason was the proximity of Carleton Place to Ottawa and the competition for milk was the reason Carleton Place’s bid to the chocolate maker was turned down. Milt Phillips and councilor Wally Cook paid a visit to the industrial company Santus in Chicago to determine some of the reasons why Carleton Place was not chosen as the plant site.
The two Carleton Place businessmen were told there were really no major differences between the two communities, and therefore the business of location became a series of plus and minuses for each locality. Milk competition was the unexpected major factor. Another reason was cheaper business expenses, because railways in Smiths Falls would lend themselves to better distribution. Hershey’s decision to build in Smiths Falls was not really final at that point in time because Hershey’s found the local financial climate unsettling as a result of the Finance Minister’s budget. Location in Smiths Falls would earn them a savings of approximately $5,500 each year for power expenses over Carleton Place.
Although Carleton Place assured Hershey that the town’s inadequate water system could be remedied, the company found it more advantageous to locate to a better water supply at Smiths Falls where they could also get rid of excess water more easily. A survey of both towns indicated there was no difference in labor costs, and both towns were civic minded. Even though Carleton Place did not win the bid, both Mr. Phillips and Councillor Cook said that the chocolate giant had been impressed by the Ottawa Valley. They were both certain that all the surrounding towns would certainly benefit from the industry’s location in Smiths Falls.