The Big Cheese

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Wagons move slowly when carrying cheese. The wheels of the wagon creak and slide on the stones in the road from the weight of such a cargo. Children will run along at its side amused by this unusual movement of cheese. Six horses must work diligently, careful not to let the wagon over turn. The driver will dispel with a call of whoa or faster, but horses take no warning, nor do children. Cheese is heavy.

This cheese was a cheese like no other and this outing was an anticipated event. Weighing in at 7,300 lbs when it tipped the scales at the James Harris Cheese Factory in 1866, its destination was New York and the World’s Fair. This cheese, though, would not stop there but continue on to England and perhaps impress royalty. There, Oxford County was already becoming known for its cheese and the big cheese was eagerly…

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3 thoughts on “The Big Cheese

  1. For those not yet addicted to this free
    on-the-road hobby -instant culture
    for your youngsters – here’s the Heritage
    status of the cheese.
    If anyone has updated information about
    this errant blue free-standing provincial
    plaque, do let us know…
    Plaque Location County Oxford, Town
    of Ingersoll
    (Note: A truck hit the Big Cheese plaque in
    Ingersoll in the winter of 2005. It was sent to
    Ontario Heritage Trust for refurbishing but
    was mislaid. When and if the original
    plaque surfaces or a replacement is made,
    the town is looking into relocating it closer
    to the museum to give it a higher profile.
    Creating a replica of the big cheese to go
    along with it has also been discussed,
    but that’s not expected to become a reality
    for a while. Source: Ingersoll Times )[n.d.]
    -Plaque Text
    “Oxford County was the birthplace of the
    commercial cheese industry in Canada.
    In 1865 James Harris erected on this farm
    the first cheese factory in the Ingersoll district.
    To stimulate interest among foreign buyers,
    a group of Oxford’s producers co-operated
    to manufacture a gigantic cheese here in June,
    1866. Weighing 3310 kg and measuring 6.4
    metres in circumference, it was exhibited
    at the New York State Fair and in London,
    England.”
    Here are the visitors’ comments for this page.
    > Posted September 10, 2010 As of this
    date, there is still no replacement plaque.
    -Wayne ” (probably Wayne Cook)
    SOURCE – ONTARIOPLAQUES website.
    Host Alan Brown, retired Toronto teacher.

  2. Ingersoll News -Where’s the cheese plaque?
    By John Tapley Thurs. July 12, 2012
    The plaque commemorating Ingersoll’s
    big cheese is missing after the town sent
    it to the Ontario Heritage Trust a couple
    of years ago to be refurbished. The
    provincial agency is saying the plaque
    has been “mislaid,” but is offering to
    replace it at a cost of $3,900.
    Ingersoll is a little cheesed over its big
    cheese plaque. A couple of years ago,
    the town shipped a commemorative
    plaque celebrating Ingersoll’s big cheese
    to the Ontario Heritage Trust to be
    refurbished and now it’s being told
    the plaque has been “mislaid.” Not to
    worry though, the provincial agency
    is offering to replace it at a cost of $3,900.
    The large metal plaque, which was located
    on Harris Street near the Elm Hurst Inn,
    pays tribute to a massive 3,311 kilogram
    wheel of cheese made at the James
    Harris Cheese Factory in Ingersoll in 1866.
    Intended to promote the local cheese
    industry, the three-foot by seven-foot big
    cheese was exhibited in England and
    at the New York State Fair in Saratoga.
    “At this point, they’re telling us they can’t
    find (the plaque),” said Coun. Gord Lesser.
    If we tell them when we’re going to pay,
    they’ll get one made to replace it.”
    Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum
    curator Scott Gillies is looking for shipping
    documents showing when, where and how
    the plaque was sent to the Ontario Heritage
    Trust.
    “We didn’t lose it, so we shouldn’t have to
    pay for it,” said Lesser, adding that it’s a
    matter of principle.
    When and if the original plaque surfaces
    or a replacement is made, the town is
    looking into relocating it closer to the
    museum to give it a higher profile.
    Creating a replica of the big cheese to go
    along with it has also been discussed,
    but that’s not expected to become a reality
    for a while.“The replica is still on the books,
    but it’s not on the front burner,” said Lesser
    who pointed out that the redevelopment
    of the sports hall of fame and other projects
    are a priority.

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