During Canadas Centennial year, 1967, Edmonton businessman Walter Makowecki attended Expo
67 in Montreal and saw a piece of machinery that would change his professional life forever.
At the Soviet Union pavilion, a Ukrainian-manufactured machine demonstrated the mass
production of savoury Siberian meat-filled dumplings. A trip to Ukraine later, and with much tinkering,
Makowecki set up his own machine in Edmonton, established Heritage Frozen Foods in 1971, and in 1972,
began to manufacture frozen perogies.
His fillings were traditional to Ukrainepotatoes and cottage cheese.
As Scott McKean wrote in the Vancouver Sun in 1999, " Every family had a cow,
(Makowecki) said, explaining that people would take cottage cheese from the cows milk, blend it with
cooked potato and fold it inside a circle of dough. Add a touch of sour cream on top and you had a filling,
In the early years, marketing was difficult, as Ukrainian cuisine was an unknown
quantity to many Canadians. But Makowecki persevered, and over the years introduced not only the basic
perogy, but flavour innovationsamong them, roasted garlic and herb, bacon and Romano cheese, and the
pizza perogythat would draw mainstream Canadian diners into the fold, and turn Heritage Frozen Foods
into the worlds largest perogy producer.
In 1990, Makowecki entered into a joint venture to establish a plant in Ukraine.
He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial acumen many times. In 1995, he was a recipient of the
Pinnacle Award from the Calgary law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP to honour individuals in the business
community for their entrepreneurial efforts. In 2002, Makowecki was given the Alberta Food Processors
Association Industry Builder Award to honour his "significant and lasting contributions to the growth of
the food processing industry in Alberta."
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