St. Albert continues to rise from the ashes

A recent scene from the Cheese Curd Festival, courtesy Festival de la Curd.

A recent scene from the Cheese Curd Festival, courtesy Festival de la Curd.

Here's more on the resurrection of the landmark cheese factory in Ontario that was destroyed in a fire last February.

St. Albert Cheese manufacturing was established in 1894. It's currently owned by a cooperative of 50 milk producers and is a major source of employment for the small community of the same name about 35 miles east of downtown Ottawa.

Even before the shock of that fire had worn off promises were made to rebuild. The popular brand quickly moved to producing curds and cheddar in other locations while awaiting reconstruction.

Meanwhile, this weekend the 20th St. Albert Cheese Curd Festival will lift community spirit Aug 14-18. Festival Director Daniel Simonic told the Ottawa Citizen events will include a friendly cross-community competition:

"… pitting six-member teams from six neighbouring communities against each other in a two-day tournament of strength and wit. While he wouldn’t divulge the nature of the games, Simoncic said, “there’s some livestock, a giant pool and a lot of equipment involved. You have to see it to believe it.”

In a contest among the villages of Bourget, Casselman, Crysler, Embrun, St. Albert, and St. Isidore, the winning village will get $3,000 to put toward a community-based project. “Extra points will be given to those villages that have the best turnout and show their pride,” said Simoncic.

Rebuilding at the same location is progressing, with the prospect of resuming production there by year's end, according to Simonic, as reported by the Ottawa Citizen.

“It’s coming along well and they’re rebuilding it, some of the sheds are already built. I think a big part of the rebuilding will start around Sept. 15 and it’s very technical and a bigger project, so they’re taking their time doing it.”

"Practical info" on the curd festival schedule and location – happening now through Sunday –  can be found here.

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Monday update:

According to this 8/18 story from the Ottawa Citizen, the Curd Festival was a tremendous success. Organizers estimate attendance over the four day event was about 40,000 people.

The Citizen reports the hotly contested intra-village competition was won by Prescott-Russell. "As the event’s sponsors, the team chose to forgo the $3,000 in winnings, instead opting to give the cheque to runners up Embrun."

Embrun will reportedly use the money to build a community splash pad.

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