CAN (ON): Chocolate town became home for cannabis and then chocolate again

A small eastern Ontario town that was once known as the province’s chocolate capital is preparing for the sweet return of Hershey’s. “It’s like an old friend coming home after being gone for 15 years,” said Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow. That return is the latest in a slew of changes around a facility that has been essential to the town’s identity and economic prosperity.

The factory employed about 400 locals, but that all changed in 2007 when Hershey’s outsourced the jobs to Mexico and closed the shop. The town went through an identity crisis, too.

The legalization of recreational cannabis in 2018 brought on a brief economic high after Canopy Growth Corp. moved into 1 Hershey Dr. “There was an awful lot of hype in the cannabis industry,” said Sean Lawrence, now the president of Smiths Falls’s chamber of commerce board. “I think people felt that it was going to take off more than it actually has.”

In February, Canopy laid off 800 employees, around 35 percent of its workforce, and announced it would sell the factory. Tweed will still employ just over 175 people in Smiths Falls at another facility. It announced last month that it would sell the 700,000-square-foot facility back to its original owner for around $53 million. That has set the stage for a reunion, but the chocolate maker is returning to a town that is very different from the one it left.


Publication date:

Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here

Other news in this sector:

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber