Cochrane ice cream shop celebrates 75 years of serving delicious scoops

Mackay’s ice cream in Cochrane is a local classic

CLASSIC DESSERT: The building of Mackay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane. (Photo by Kumkum Verma/The Press)

After the Second World War, James Mackay bought a grocery store in Cochrane and then got the idea of converting it into an ice cream parlour. MacKay’s ice cream opened in 1948.

The recipes were inspired by Mackay’s grandmother and 75 years later, the shop is operated by the third generation.

Lina Chininea is the current assistant manager who is been working for five years.

“This business is from 1948 so, it is quite popular among locals and tourists,” said Chininea.

The business has grown a lot since then. Starting from a small store, today it has become a tourist attraction. People from around the world come to Cochrane to enjoy their special flavours in a beautiful and colourful single-floor building.

Symon Hayez travelled about 900 kilometres to enjoy MacKay’s ice cream.

“Have chocolate fudge in my hand, it is so dense and creamy, give it a try,” said Hayez.

The first owner of Mackay’s died in 1983 and then Robyn and Rhona Mackay took over the responsibility of increasing business on the path of their parents.

In 2013, the business was again handed over to Meghan and Mark Tayfel, but they respected the history and carried over the same product quality and customer satisfaction.

More than 70,000 people travel to MacKay’s every year.

“We are so crazy in summers, but not too bad in winters as well,” said Chininea.

Mackay serves more than 100 flavours which include fruity, nutty, and various kinds of chocolates such as white, dark, hazelnut and milk chocolate.

Liam Jorge is a resident of Calgary. He travels almost every week to enjoy Cochrane’s famous ice cream.

“I bought white chocolate truffle which is not so sweet and tastes so balanced,” said Jorge.

New flavours come every season which makes Mackay’s more special. For instance, peppermint flavour during the Christmas season, caramel pumpkin pecan during fall and fresh berries in summer.

Monika Khurana came all the way from Toronto to enjoy Mackay’s.

“I got Kulfi ice cream, it is really good, and I really recommend it,” said Khurana.

The high-fat creme is the key ingredient used in the making of ice cream which makes it smoother and tempting.

The crème was first made at home from cow’s milk but due to high demand and more traffic owners decided to switch to the Cooperative of Western Dairy Farmers.

The process of cow to cone has remained almost the same because the recipes are still inspired by James’s grandmother from the first generations of the business.

“We use a lot of crème in our ice-creams that’s why it is so creamy,” said Chininea.

All the recipes used were given by the first generation of the business which are still the same in 2023 as the owners say.

A family-run business that lasts up to 75 is such a big thing. The Tayfel’s are following the paths shown by James which makes it even more special to the whole family.

Check out the Shorthand version of the story here and a video version here.

About Kumkum Verma 2 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Kumkum Verma is working as a writer for The Press in 2023.