First Wallaceburg Christmas and a Pickle

Between the huge Christmas Eve gathering in Melbourne and the small but mighty Christmas Day gathering here in Wallaceburg, 2018 will go down as memorable.

I love it when everyone has a role in making Christmas dinner. Not potluck, exactly, but a communal effort in creating the traditional meal. I almost forgot to thaw Mom’s cabbage rolls – that would have been a dining disaster for our family’s Christmas! Between Mom’s turkey and Kevin’s cornbread stuffing, dinner was delicious as always.

When we decided to move here, we didn’t realize that a pickle-manufacturing company had also chosen Wallaceburg as the site for its new plant. Whyte’s Foods announced in the summer that it was planning to invest $16.5-million in a factory here, creating 100 jobs. They make Strubs pickles, relish and peppers. The facility is scheduled to open late next year.

Wallaceburg cut its teeth on glass. It was known as Canada’s “glass town”. But the manufacture of glass that began in the late 1800s ended in 1999 when the biggest factory was bought and shuttered by foreign competitors. Attracting a new food manufacturing plant to Ontario is awfully rare these days. Kellogg’s, Heinz and so many others have beat a path to the border for cheaper wages and/or a lack of union power.

No doubt that Wallaceburg’s affordability played a part in the company’s decision. Although there are people living here and working in Chatham and Sarnia – and vice-versa – Wallaceburg hasn’t become a bedroom community with soaring real estate prices and new home developments popping up like weeds. That’s part of what made it so attractive to us. Not to mention affordable for a couple of freelancers. We will even switch pickle allegiances. Bye-bye Bick’s, hello Strubs!

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