Skip to content

Community members rally to Save Thornloe Cheese

Committee, petition struck to garner support for 83-year-old cheese plant
Gay Lea Foods' announcement that Thornloe Cheese is closed has prompted outcry from community members who are rallying to save the cheese plant from permanent closure.

A committee has been formed to help keep Thornloe Cheese from closing its doors for good.

It's simply named Save Thornloe Cheese.

"We are going to need the entire community's support to make sure that we are able to fight this," said Robin Flewwelling, a dairy farmer in Earlton. "The more voices speak up against the closure, the stronger our chance to get our favourite squeaky curds back on the shelf will be."

Residents are being asked to show their support on the group's social media page. A petition is at a number of area stores and an online petition is in the works. You can email support here

The committee has been organized by the Temiskmaing Dairy Producer Committee. Members are Anna Regele, Dominic Levielle, Sam Loranger, Josh Jackson, Darren Jibb, and Flewwelling.

Gay Lea Foods announced the plant's sudden closure last week via a notice posted on the door of the Highway 11 store.

A spokesman for Gay Lea said the equipment is so old it would cost $10 million to upgrade, and that doesn't make sense financially.

SEE: Can Thornloe Cheese be saved again?

A poster on the Facebook page wrote, "The fallout will be bad. A huge amount of independent-owned restaurants use Thornloe Cheese in their menus, food trucks use their curds for poutine, and schools relied on their cheese fundraisers every year to generate funds for extracurricular activities....a massive loss if this can't be turned around."

"It's one of the biggest issues that we have faced and we're just putting Gay Lea on notice that we're going to fight," said Temiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vantof in a recent address in the House of Commons.

"We're not just going to wave goodbye. We want to work with them, whether it's with them or with another cheesemaker, but we're not letting Thornloe go easily or at all."

A meeting has been held with Gay Lea to see what their intentions are with the plant; however, no details have emerged.

Watch below as Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof makes an impassioned plea for help saving Thornloe Cheese in the House of Commons:

— BayToday