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Key Number: HS 81393
Site Name: Donalda Creamery
Other Names:
Site Type: 0703 - Industrial/Manufacturing - Food: Dairy


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
42 18 4

Address: Foster Street
Number: N/A
Street: Foster
Avenue: N/A
Town: Donalda
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape:
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure:
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: N/A
Interior: N/A
Environment: N/A
Condition: N/A
Alterations: N/A


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:

Owner: Owner Date:
Donalda District Museum Society

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A

The Donalda Creamery is representative of the many small creameries which were established as part of the economic base of a number of Alberta urban communities. The growth of the dairy industry in central Alberta dates from the mid-1880s when the first dairy herds were established on farms in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. By 1897, government-managed creameries had been established in Calgary, Innisfail, Red Deer, Wetaskiwin and Edmonton. Territorial Ordinances provided for the incorporation of Butter and Cheese Manufacturing Associations, and the formation of a Dairyman’s Association. A Provincial Dairy Branch was established in 1906 to inspect the butter; supervise cream grading; and provide dairy training and education. By 1923, 89 creameries were producing butter in Alberta.

Development of Donalda was tied to the settlement of the Stettler area, beginning in 1905 with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Donalda School opened in 1911 and Donalda was incorporated as a village in 1913 on the Stettler-Camrose branch of the Canadian Northern Railway.

The privately-owned Donalda Creamery began operations in 1924 with John Van Dam as manager on a site owned by George Burgess of Drumheller. Henry Paege was associated with the creamery operations from 1925 to 1948 and owned the creamery from 1937 to 1966. Paege also owned the power plant which generated electricity for the Creamery and the village from 1932 to 1942.

The Donalda Co-operative Creamery Association Ltd. was formed in 1937 to provide an organized and effective outlet for the cream production of the area. Beginning in 1957, the trend toward centralization by the large dairy pools closed many small creameries throughout Alberta. The Central Alberta Dairy Pool made numerous offers to amalgamate with the Donalda Creamery but was resisted by the Association members.

The local economy of the region was dependent on the continued operation of the Creamery. Over 300 farm families were shipping cream, eggs and poultry to the Association. Cream was shipped to Donalda from a 300 square kilometer area which included New Norway, Edberg, Heisler, Rosalind, Stettler and Forestburg. Butter was sold under the “Donalda Maid” label to local stores, to the Central Alberta Dairy Pool and to more distant locations such as Drumheller.

The Donalda Creamery was one of ten butter-making plants in Alberta in 1987 and one of five independent creameries. Other independent creameries were located in Calgary, Lethbridge, Pincher Creek and Castor. The Donalda Creamery continued to operate independently until its closing in 1987 due to the reduction of shippers by the cream quota system.


The Donalda Creamery building was first constructed for use as a commercial garage near Edberg. Despite its subsequent reuse as a light industrial structure housing a machine shop and, since 1954, a creamery, it retains much of its appearance as a commercial structure in a small Alberta urban community. It is a rectangular gable roofed structure with a boom town façade. This boom town front has been modified in a stepped fashion to conform to the roof line.

Buildings used to house creameries were typically located in gable-roof, wood frame structures with shed additions. A unique design feature was the unusual number of entrances to accommodate the traffic patterns for cream cans, people and equipment. Interior space was allocated for office, laboratory, work room and utility areas.


Status: Status Date:

Designation Status: Designation Date:
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
Tatiana Gilev 2003/04/08


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0644
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