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Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick: French Fry Capital of the World Back to

Florenceville-Bristol: French fry capital of the world, home of McCain

Here at McCain, we’ve got some serious hometown pride. Florenceville-Bristol is home to McCain Foods Head Quarters, and has been since 1957. The town has tasty-sounding roots, too: Florenceville was once known as Buttermilk Creek, but the name was changed in 1855 in honour of the pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale (later, in 2008, the town amalgamated with the nearby village of Bristol to create Florenceville-Bristol).  The people of this beautiful area have long been farmers, and the soil is particularly suited to growing potatoes.

McCain’s founders, Harrison and Wallace McCain, grew up in Florenceville, sons of a potato farmer.  It was only natural that they continue to expand the family business, and the first McCain plant opened on February 23, 1957 with 30 workers. The opening was a big deal in Florenceville; then-premier Hugh John Flemming cut the ribbon for the plant, and the federal minister of labour, Milton Gregg, came from Ottawa to cut the ribbon on the cold storage unit.

Still, it would have been hard to imagine just what was in store on that important day. In the book From the Ground Up: The First Fifty Years of McCain Foods, author Daniel Stoffman writes: “Nobody, least of all the McCain brothers, imagined that the little frozen foods plant they opened in 1957 would, before the century was over, make Florenceville the French Fry capital of the world.”

Wallace McCain reflects, “Our success wasn’t because we were great financial engineers – we weren’t. It wasn’t because we had the very best plans – often we didn’t… We had some good timing, and we had some good luck. But mostly, we were able to build a team of truly great people. People who cared a lot.”

McCain has been proud to help the community grow, providing jobs and supporting local farmers in the process. Around 1,300 people (of a population of 1,600) are employed at McCain HQ in Florenceville. Because McCain’s Information Technology group is located in Florenceville-Bristol, the village also enjoys a great sense of multiculturalism.

Want to explore the town of Florenceville-Bristol and get to know some of the people who helped make this company great? The All Good Blog caught up with local Florenceville-Bristol residents Paul and Shelia Dean to find out the best sites and activities to check out. Their suggestions?

  • Stop by Potato World, a local museum dedicated to all things potato
  • Enjoy the scenic sites, like beautiful rolling hills
  • Spend some time outdoors: there’s fishing, 4-wheeling, and more (plus boating nearby)
  • If you’re in the area in early September stop by the Buttermilk Creek Festival
  • Take in some fine art at the Andrew and Laura McCain Gallery

​​McCain Brothers: Harrison and Wallace


​McCain founders Harrison and Wallace McCain
Newspaper clipping from McCain Plant Opening, Florenceville-Bristol New Brunswick ​
A local newspaper celebrates McCain innovation
Tour of the McCain Plant, Opening Day 1957 
A lot of folks turned out for a tour of the newly-opened plant
Ribbon Cutting of new McCain plant​​​
Cutting the ribbon at the opening of the McCain plant
Aerial view of Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick
McCain's Florenceville-Bristol plant from the sky

Photos are from the McCain Archives:  The collection of historical photographs is maintained by Dawn Shaw at Florenceville, New Brunswick. Efforts have been made to locate the copyright owner of the photograph. Aerial view photo by Mike Kipling