Press Information

2008 Press Release (pdf)

Press Contact:

One scoop of Mackay’s ICE CREAM embodies the core values of the company. From production to pleasure our philosophy is rooted in ensuring quality. The Albertan small town, entrepreneurial spirit meets superior local and global ingredients to make world renowned ICE CREAM.

Historical Facts
James MacKay – born in Cochrane, Alberta. His Grandfather, Ewan D. MacKay (1838 – 1908) was one of the early ranchers in the Cochrane area.

Christina Smith – born in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Jimmy met Christina in 1942 when he was stationed in Wishaw with the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corps, a division of the Canadian Army.

They married in August 1945 in Motherwell, Scotland.

Jimmy shipped back to Canada in February 1946. Christina followed soon after as ‘war brides’ always traveled separately. Her journey to Canada was by train to Southampton, by boat to Halifax, by train to Calgary and by car to Cochrane, population 500.

MacKay’s was launched in 1946 when Jimmy and Christina purchased the town’s general store, the ‘Red and White’. Main Street was the highway through to the Rockies at the time but was moved to the 1A to allow traffic to bypass the town. Ingenuity brought the people back to the town’s streets when Jimmy and Christina started making ICE CREAM in 1948.

Jim was a visionary who not only developed all kinds of ICE CREAM flavours by trial and error (including dill pickle... pregnant women come on down!), and later tried to sell his townsfolk on frozen yogurt – one full generation before it became trendy.

By the mid 1970s, thousands of people were visiting MacKay’s and not only from Calgary but around the globe. The all time record day was in August 1976 when the shoppe logged 4500 ICE CREAM fans.

Jimmy passed away in 1983 and daughters Rhona and Robyn MacKay, who grew up in the Shoppe, suddenly found themselves running the family business. Although challenging at first, the MacKay sisters rose to the occasion and grew the family business. To improve their knowledge they took ICE CREAM courses at University of Guelph and Penn State University. They then added flavours, renovated the Shoppe, expanded the ICE CREAM factory and branched out into the wholesale business.

In 2011, Rhona and Robyn retired and granddaughter Meghan, and her husband Mark, took over the tradition. 2013 marked the 65th anniversary of MacKay’s delicious ice cream.

Current Facts
MacKay’s Cochrane ICE CREAM is located on 1st street in Downtown Cochrane, population 13,500, and 35kms west of Calgary, Alberta Canada.

MacKay’s scoops ONLY super premium, hand made ICE CREAM from fresh Alberta cream. The ICE CREAM is made, and has ALWAYS been made, in our factory in Cochrane, a few blocks away from the Shoppe.

MacKay’s Cochrane ICE CREAM contains 17% butterfat. Most ICE CREAM contains 10% butterfat. This is what makes MacKay’s so rich and dense and creamy.

MacKay’s also makes Sorbet, which is a non-dairy frozen treat and Frozen Yogurt.

MacKay’s has recipes for over 200 flavours of ICE CREAM. The best selling flavour is Chocolate, followed by Vanilla and Strawberry.

Some of our more innovative flavours include: Purple Yam, Avocado and Kulfi. Also we look toward the creativity of chefs and make Chai Tea ICE CREAM, Mayan Chocolate ICE CREAM (with chili and cinnamon) as well as Limoncello Sorbet.

MacKay’s produces more than 120,000 Litres of ICE CREAM per year. That is about 630,000 scoops. That represents every school age child in Alberta and keeps 2007 cows busy per year.

MacKay’s is the premier tourism draw for the Town of Cochrane, a regular destination for day visitors from Calgary as well as a popular stop for tourists on their way to the Rocky Mountains. MacKay’s has been visited by people from all over the world, including Malaysia, South America and even Iceland and Siberia!
Come taste the tradition.

Swerve Calgary - August 5, 2011

Calgary Herald article - May 14, 2008 (pdf)

Cochrane Connects, Premier Edition, Fall 2008 pg 46 (pdf)

Avenue Calgary - 25 Best Eats in Calgary (March 2009)

The Edible Prairie Journal (pdf)

MacKays ICE CREAM, Located at: 220- 1st St West, Cochrane, Alberta • Mailing Address: Box 250 Cochrane Alberta T4C 1A5
Ph/Fax: 403-932-2455 Email: