Investing in the family
William Neilson, the son of Scottish immigrants, was born on a farm near Almonte in Southern Ontario. He invested every penny the family had saved in seven cows and some used, hand-cranked ice cream makers.
From the very beginning of his dairy, William Neilson stood by his credo: Nothing but the best. Some ice cream manufacturers may have used milk, but William used only the purest cream. And as a result, Neilson’s ice Cream was an instant success.
The only trouble was, ice cream sales tended to fall off in the colder months, leaving 25 skilled employees idle and struggling to make ends meet. But William always treated his staff like a second family, and was so concerned for their welfare that he launched a line of chocolates to provide them with work and income throughout the harsh winters. Again, he used only the best ingredients, and Neilson chocolates soon became as popular as the company’s ice cream.
William’s second son, Morden, took over the company after his father’s death in 1915. Under his leadership, William Neilson Ltd. became the largest producer of ice cream in the British Empire and the largest manufacturer of chocolates in Canada, earning international renown.*
In 1947 the firm was acquired by George Weston, and continued the traditions established by William and Morden Neilson: a commitment to the best ingredients, people, processes and products, and a strong and positive relationship with employees.
In 1981, the company incorporated all its dairies under the popular Neilson brand name. When Saputo acquired Neilson Dairy in 2008, it joined Canada’s largest dairy producer. More importantly, Saputo is also a family company, and its employees have continued William Neilson’s tradition of dedication to producing the best products possible. With Saputo at the helm, Neilson is looking forward to many more years of providing nutritious dairy products for growing Canadian families.