hillary — 3 years ago
One mid summer’s night, I decided to follow that familiar smell of brownies in the air and ended up at the Cadbury Chocolate Factory on Gladstone Avenue. Hidden away it what looks like an abandoned building is this curious plant. I decided to investigate further and find our the history of the Cadbury Factory and it’s origins.
Starting out as a small family business, the Cadbury Factory was formerly known as ‘the Neilson Plant’. William Neilson first bought the property in 1904 after some success in the hand-made ice cream business. Using pure cream instead of milk 3,750 gallons of ice cream was sold in the family first summer. Nielson’s ice cream was a hit, the building on Gladstone was purchased and 25 employees were hired to work at the plant. The factory was much more modest back then and after several renovations it looks quite similar as you would view it today. In fact the former Neilson home is still attached to the plant today if you look hard enough at the north end of the factory. (Right beside the parking lot.)
Everyone knows that ice cream is huge in the summer but sales dwindle in the winter months. So, naturally the Neilson family experimented with the next best thing- chocolate! Considering the plant is still around today you can image the success of this decision. Fun fact: 500,000 pounds of bulk-boxed Nielson family chocolate was sold annually during the beginning of the war.
After William’s passing his son, Morden Neilson took over the family business. The empire grew with his leadership and the brand became one of the largest manufacturers of chocolate in Canada and ice cream in the British Empire. However, Morden Neilson did not have children. Without a successor following his death the family business was eventually bought out by George Weston Ltd and later purchased Cadbury Canada Ltd. By 1990 the ice cream side of the business disappeared (I guess, two months of brisk Canadian summers out the year is not enough profit for mere ice cream sales) and chocolate was the name of the game. That year the company name officially changed to Cadbury Chocolate Canada Inc. And here it stands as we know it today.
Want to get closer to the source? Each year the company opens its doors on October 31st and hosts a spook-tacular Halloween event. Free treats for all and a haunted house for those brave enough to step inside. The Cadbury plant is located at 277 Gladstone Ave.
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