by Jenn Watt
At the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole is a facility that makes enough ice to meet the needs of much of Central Ontario. Hyland Ice Supply has been in the ice-making business since the 1940s when Mel Croft used to cut blocks out of the frozen surface of Lake Wilbermere.
Back then there was little electricity in the region so the ice was cut in the winter and stored in sawdust for the summer months when it would be distributed in smaller pieces for home use.
Mel Croft and his wife Bessie continued to grow the business over the years adding production equipment and expanding their facilities through the 1960s and ’70s.
Today the business includes several family members and dedicated staff.
On May 22 Mike Croft gave a group from the Algonquin Gateway Business Association a tour of the facility which can produce up to 100 tons of ice a day which is trucked throughout Central Ontario from Georgian Bay to the Ottawa Valley.
Mike explained that Hyland Ice Supply makes food grade ice which means it complies with Packaged Ice Quality Control Standards which specifies measures to create a sanitary environment. The facility is inspected annually to ensure it’s in compliance.
Twelve employees spend their time making and moving ice around the property from the spring-fed well through the ozonation and filtration process when it is then made into ice using state-of-the-art equipment and transferred into bags which are then packed onto pallets and stored. Hyland Ice Supply has capacity to store more than 400000 ice bags between multiple locations.