That's How the Cookie Crumbles...
After some sixty years plus, Mr. Christie's Bakery in Etobicoke shuts down today. A sprawling factory at Park Lawn Road and the Lakeshore, this factory and, more importantly, cookie outlet store has succumbed to age and neighbourhood development. Some 500 employees have to find new jobs.
For a time back in 2002, the cookie outlet store was a welcome refuge for my sister and I. We were struggling through the early days of discovery of Alzheimer's Disease in our mother. It was a wild roller coaster ride and we never could be sure of what lay around the next corner, but we knew where to get good cookies! A hop, skip and a jump away from the condo Mom was staying in at the time stood the long arms of Mr. Christie. He beckoned with sweet aromas of fresh baked cookies in bulk packages at bargain prices.
My all time favourite was Dad's Oatmeal Cookies. They were the best for dunking in a tall glass of milk. Others may champion Oreo's as the best dunker, but not me; Dad's Oatmeal all the way, though Chips Ahoy held a solid second place in the milk dunking class. Animal crackers came in a box decorated with drawings of jungle scenes and with a white string handle just perfect for a child's hand. There were Arrowroot cookies, Pirate peanut butter cookies, Ritz crackers, Stoned Wheat Thins, Triscuits and even Bits & Bites.
Sometimes the labels were crooked, misprinted or just plain wrong (Triscuits with a Ritz label); sometimes the cookies were a tad overdone or the tops and bottoms of the Oreos didn't line up; sometimes the cookies were just broken (that meant the calories leaked out, right?); none of this made any difference to the taste. Both my sister and I had two teens at home back then, who, after a quick "How's gramma?" question, asked "What cookies did you get? Hope you got more Chips Ahoy!"
Though it did nothing for my waistline, the store offered respite care in critical moments. It was comfort food and good therapy. Today I send a heartfelt "Thank You" to all the folks who worked at Mr. Christie's.