Historic Ontario cheese plant plans to rebuild

Outside the St. Albert Fromagerie. Photo by Jen Heneberry [http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenworks/] Some rights reserved.

Sunday morning, workers at the St. Albert’s Fromagerie escaped the factory as a fire engulfed the older of two buildings.  No one was injured, but the damage is a major blow to the small community of St. Albert, Ontario, about 25 miles north of Massena.

The plant is the anchor of the community.  It’s famous across Canada for its poutine-topping cheese curds (just writing those words makes my mouth water). It was founded in 1894, and is one of the oldest Francophone cooperatives in the country.

According to the AP, more than 60 people have lost their jobs for now.  Speaking with the CBC, plant manager Rejean Ouimet vowed to rebuild this year:

“We were so proud about this place. Everybody was proud, not only me. Everyone around this eastern part of Ontario. We’re known across Canada. I’m sure we’re going to rebuild. I’m sure,” said Ouimet.

Ouimet told the CBC he expects to have product back on the shelves in a couple weeks, thanks to production at another plant in Quebec.

Photo by Jen Heneberry [http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenworks/]. Some rights reserved.

North Country dairy towns know too well what it’s like to lose the cheese plant in your town.  Here’s hoping things get back to normal in St. Albert soon.

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