Union Cheese Factory
The settlers of Upper Canada frequently made their own cheese, using home prepared rennet and their own small supply of milk. Cheese for market, however, was most efficiently made in a cheese factory to which the dairy farmers of a district could bring their own milk on a regular basis. The cheesemaker would make and store the cheese until it had aged properly.
The idea of the cooperative factory, which allowed farmers to share in both management and profits, originated in the dairying regions of central New York state and spread into Canada in the 1860s to become a feature of its rural life. The first known factory in this area was built at Gray's Creek, near Cornwall. This one in Upper Canada Village, whose set up and operation are based upon the features of early factories, serves as a reminder of the importance of such establishments to the growth of one of Ontario's major industries.
The operation of these cheese factories also led to a new interest in breeding dairy cows, as farmers could make a profit from the extra milk they produced.
Today, cheese is made using 19th century techniques and equipment at the Union Cheese Factory on select days from Tuesday through Friday, and production generally finishes later in the afternoon. Visitors to Upper Canada Village may purchase Village Cheese daily at the Village Store.