History of the Canadian Ice Association

James Fairhead founded the Springwater Ice Company in 1876 to cut ice from Lake Simcoe because the water was so clean and pure. The name of his company was changed in 1894 to the Lake Simcoe Ice and Fuel Company.

Belle Ewart Ice Company was founded in 1891 by Elias Chapman and was bought by Lake Simcoe Ice in 1906. Knickerbocker Ice was founded in 1894 by Willliam Burns and bought by Lake Simcoe Ice in 1914. These companies all cut ice from Lake Simcoe following the success of James Fairhead.
James’ son, Newman Fairhead took over the business when he returned from WWI in 1919 along with his brother Harry and his nephew, Allan, who was Harry’s son. Allan was involved with Lake Simcoe Ice until 1970. Newman’s son, Gerald Fairhead, worked for a short time in the business after returning from WWII,

but eventually entered the ministry. Gerald’s only daughter, Kathleen, resided in Bracebridge, Ontario.

The Canadian Ice Association was very fortunate to have the Fairhead family involved in the ice industry. The family members traveled a great deal and were active in a number of organizations in the Toronto area. On a trip to Barbados, Harry Fairhead met several vacationing icemen and discussed forming an association similar to the ones in the southeastern United States. On his return in March 1921, Harry called a meeting together with Purity Ice, Belle Ewart Ice, his family from Lake Simcoe Ice and other people from the ice industry in the United States. That year the ice association was founded. The names of the individual members and their companies have been lost to time. The exact date and place of the formation of the association have also vanished. The first available information, other than this occurrence in 1921, is a Memorandum of Agreement of Ontario Ice Association, when on September 29, 1922, the group made an application to incorporate in the Province of Ontario to be named the Ontario Ice Association Incorporated. In attendance were James Fairhead, Newman Fairhead, Harry Fairhead, J.A.Thibault, K.C. McCrea, John Dade, Gerard Brunelle, Fraser Heartwell, Ike Greenburg, Jack Arthur and William Arthur.

This association carried on until February, 1928 when it was renamed thae Canadian Association of Ice Industries, Inc. Once again, James Fairhead took the lead and continued as president of the association with these goals in mind:

1) to bring about a common understanding within the ice industry between the producer, the suppliers and the customers
2) to deal with matters of mutual interest and to standardize methods for the betterment of the community
3) to encourage production of ice of the highest quality and its distribution by the most efficient and economical means
4) to promote said interests and standards of service amongst the members
5) to work with the National Association of Ice Industries toward the betterment
of the industry at large

The Fairhead family pioneered the industry in Canada and all icemen today owe them a debt of gratitude for their vision and tireless effort in forming our Canadian Association and keeping it active, as our industry moved from natural ice to artificial ice to the packaged ice industry of today.

In succeeding years, we have continued to adhere to these same goals. Words may have changed but the values remain
the same, in step with the requirements of the modern packaged ice industry
and in partnership with the International Packaged Ice Association and their work with members in marketing, food safety (PIQCS), public affairs and plant operations.

In 1996, the CAII celebrated its 75th anniversary, President Neil Hinds and convention chairman Ross Smibert and executive invited all icemen to join them in this celebration at Skydome Hotel in Toronto. It was well attended by many Canadian and American guests.

In 2003, CAII President, John Smibert, resolved to move forward with these goals and the Canadian Association of Ice Industries became the first chapter of the International Packaged Ice Association.

Since then, the CAII members have benefitted from their partnership with the IPIA: The Ice World Journal is sent to all Canadian members; the excellent convention opportunities to meet suppliers, attend educational seminars, and network with industry colleagues; available marketing programs, magazine advertising, packaged ice brochures and decals; food safety initiatives and PIQCS (Packaged Ice Quality Control Systems) program with third party audits are standard; public affairs and government talks regarding regulations under CFIA with the UGA and SC reports as supporting data; www.safeice.org and www.packagedice.org as resources. As of the summer of 2016, the CAII members will have their own website www.canadianpackagedice.org to use as another tool for promoting their businesses and products.

As you can see, we continue to evolve with goals similar to those set forth in 1928 by the founding fellow icemen.

Audio Interview Stuart  McLean of CBC in conversation with Ross Smibert North Star Ice
Stuart  McLean of CBC in conversation with Ross Smibert North Star Ice