History of Innovation

​Since 1912, we have been changing the way people experience their coffee and tea. Our passion for innovation has helped Mother Parkers become the supplier of choice to some of the world’s largest retailers and brand owners. Today, we deliver a better beverage experience with the most innovative formats, flavors and packaging available.


Higgins & Burke Ltd. was founded by Stafford Higgins as a wholesale grocery distributor.
Innovation 1912 


Higgins & Burke sold bulk commodities such as sugar, flour, tea and coffee to small family grocery stores in Toronto and to mining companies in Northern Ontario.

The business began packing tea into one-pound bags and roasting coffee in the one -pound format under the name Mother Parkers.

The coffee and tea business continued to grow throughout the decade.

Innovation 1930s 


The Mother Parkers brand was #1 in Ontario.
 A brand new production plant built in North Toronto was the first one-story factory automatic with conveyors.

“Mother Parkers Musical Mysteries” hit the airwaves on Toronto’s CFRB Radio and became the most-listened-to Saturday night radio show with its ‘name-that-tune’ format and big prizes.

Innovation 1940s 


Mother Parkers’ radio show moved to television on CHCH in Hamilton.

The Company began manufacturing private label coffee and tea for IGA Canada.

Higgins & Burke evolved into a frozen food business and was the Canadian broker for leading packaged food brands such as Seal Sweet Orange Juice, Aunt Jemina Pancake Mix, High Liner Fish products, Swift TV dinners and Almar Frozen Vegetables.

Innovation 1950s 

A new coffee plant was built in Mississauga, the most modern of its kind in North America.
Innovation 1960s 


An instant coffee plant was purchased in Ajax, Ontario from the Coca Cola Company making Mother Parkers the largest instant coffee producer in Canada.

An addition was built at the Ajax plant to house new tea production that was moved from Mississauga.  The latest airveyor equipment was added, ensuring that the coffee and tea never touched human hands during manufacturing and modernization continued with the addition of the world’s fastest tea bagging machine, a first in Canada.

Innovation 1970s 


The Mississauga plant was expanded with an addition to accommodate coffee growth.

Innovation 1980s 

Higgins & Burke gourmet coffee and teas were introduced and a new IMA C-2000 tea bagging machine was installed in Ajax, the fastest and most technologically advanced machine for the production of double-chamber tea bags.

Mother Parkers expanded into the U.S., opening an office in New Jersey, a coffee plant in Amherst, New York, and a Foodservice office in Buffalo, New York.  The Company also acquired the Tetley Coffee Company in Palisades Park, New Jersey.

A new office and warehouse was opened in Mississauga, across the street from the coffee plant.

Innovation 2001 


Mother Parkers opened a new coffee plant and distribution centre in Fort Worth, Texas that boasted state-of-the-art technology in its roasting, grinding, packing, production control and quality control operations.  It was named Food Manufacturing Plant of the year in 2001. Throughout the decade our business in the US was consolidated in Fort Worth.

A new venture positioned Mother Parkers as one of only three coffee companies in North America with direct decaffeination capabilities.

A specialty coffee roasting facility was opened to serve the demand for premium specialty coffees.  It was the first “organic certified” coffee plant in North America.
A ‘Ready to Drink’ tea line was launched as part of a liquids innovation strategy.

Innovation 2000s 


Mother Parkers became the 4th largest roaster in North America behind Folgers, Maxwell House and Starbucks.

Further innovation and diversification in liquid dispensed beverage solutions included iced cappuccinos, iced coffees, fruit smoothies and slush.

Innovation 2010s 


Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2012.

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