Skip to main content

BUTTER AND CHEESE MAKING IN THE OUTAOUAIS

Version imprimableVersion imprimable

Churning butter by hand was tricky; milk was set out in pans, so that the cream could rise. Various types of churns -- dash or cradle churns -- were then used to churn cream. If the butter would not set, this was often blamed on hexing. Butter was stored in barrels in a cool place, and the surplus sold in town. It might take six days to take it there even in an express wagon: two for the trip each way, and two to sell the wooden tubs of butter at the Byward market [in Ottawa]. Eventually, however, butter and cheese were made in small, often cooperative factories.

There were many such factories at the turn of the century and right through both world wars. In 1904, a cheese factory was operated in Greermount and Campbell's Bay, where a creamery was added in1911. In 1913, a cooperative cheese factory at McKee Station was dismantled and brought to Shawville, where, as the Shawville Creamery, it survives to this day.

On the Gatineau, small butter and cheese factories could be found at Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham, Rupert, Cascades, Alcove and Farrellton. That in Farrellton was started as a cooperative in the mid-1930s and continued for thirty years. Once butterfat was valued less highly, the factories closed or amalgamated with larger creameries like that in Shawville or in Quyon. The latter started, like that in Farrellton, as a cooperative in 1942, and was a success story from the beginning, supplying cities like Ottawa and Montreal.