Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 144 years

Manitoba Business: Western Grocers Limited / Westfair Foods Limited

This fruit and grocery business was established in 1918 through the merger of the wholesale grocery firm of Riley-Ramsay Company and A. Macdonald Company. It had branches throughout western Canada and at one time was the largest wholesale food distribution company in the British Commonwealth. The company entered the retail grocery business when, in 1927, it acquired the franchise for the Red and White name. Added later were the Lucky Dollar and United Purity store chains. Control of the company was acquired in 1955 by George Weston Limited. In early 1961, the firm renamed itself Westfair Foods and created a new subsidiary called Western Grocers (1961) Limited to focus on the wholesale aspects of its business. Other company subsidiaries included Dominion Fruit Limited, W. H. Malkin Limited, Shop Easy Stores Limited, Pacific Coast Packers Limited, Chess Brothers Limited, Display Fixtures Limited, and Jenkins Groceteria Limited.

Presidents & General Managers


President & General Manager


William Pitt Riley (1870-1954)


Edwin Secord Cooper (c1903-1975)


Edward Philip Rathgeber (1913-2004)


“Juba to visit New Westminster,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 October 1960, page 9.

“An announcement for Western Grocers Limited,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 January 1961, page 6.

“Winnipeg firm completes internal set-up change,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 April 1961, page 37.

Advertisement [Westfair Foods Ltd.], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 March 1968, page 17.

Obituary [Edwin Secord Cooper], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 February 1975, page 45.

Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration, Study No. 12, George Weston Limited, Corporate Background Report by D. Tigert, Burns Bros. and Denton Ltd., January 1976, page 78.

We thank Joe Martin for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 September 2016

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