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Business and History - Black Diamond Cheese, Limited

Black Diamond Cheese, Limited

This page was reproduced with permission from the Canadian Manufactures Association. The Canadian Manufacturers Association, renamed Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, holds the Copyright for the text and images.

This information came from Industry '67 Centennial Perspective, published by The Canadian Manufacturers' Association in May 1967. The original document is accessible through Western Libraries Shared Catalogue.

Black Diamond Cheese, Limited, Belleville, Ont., was established in 1933 under the name of Belleville Cheddar Cheese Limited, Since then it has absorbed three companies - Old Cave Cheese Company, Tweed, in 1952; the Clover Valley Food Co. Limited, Toronto, in 1961; and, in 1959, W. S. Cook & Son Limited, Belleville. It is through the last-named firm that Black Diamond claims centenarian status, since W. S. Cook son of John Scott Cook, a Scottish immigrant who arrived in Belleville in 1856 from Glasgow, was one of Ontario's cheese-wholesaling pioneers. John Scott Cook was a grocer with whom local farmers often traded their excess produce, including cheese, for needed provisions. As the cheese industry developed and factories began to appear in the
Belleville area after 1865, the store was offered more cheese than it could handle. Accordingly, W. S. Cook started his own produce company for exporting to the British market.

Photo of the Black Diamond Cheese plant in BellevilleOne of W. S. Cook & Son's good customers in the 1930's was Robert F. Hart, who managed a cheese company in New York State and often visited Canada to purchase Ontario cheese. In 1933 Robert Hart settled permanently in Canada and founded Belleville Cheddar Cheese Limited in order to promote a new idea in the industry. Most cheese exported to the U.K. up to that time was shipped before being aged, with the importer completing the maturing process in the United Kingdom. It was Robert Hart's idea that a British market could be developed for a standard high-quality mature cheese. Belleville Cheddar Cheese Company produced the first such product in Canada and the name "Black Diamond" became the first brand name for Canadian Cheddar Cheese.

Today the company's products, now world famous, are developed to meet the rapidly changing demands of consumers. Several new products and packages are added to the Black Diamond line every year, some of those most notable currently are Wine Cured Cheddar, Aged in Beer Cheddar, Hickory Smoked Process Cheese and French Onion Cheddar.

The President is Donald G. Joss; the Vice President and General Manager is W. D. Cook, great, great grandson of the founder of W. S. Cook & Son Limited.