In 1872, a 24-year-old doctor's son named Francis Adam Shirriff moved to Toronto and entered the grocery business. Two year later, he would co-found Canada's largest wine business with another grocer, Thomas Bright; however, he is best known as the founder, in 1883, of the Imperial Extract Company, the manufacturer of the Shirriff food line.
In 1905, with sons Will, Frank and Colin working in the business, Shirriff previewed a new product to the Toronto public at the Pure Food Show at Massey Hall. Shirriff's "High Class Orange Marmalades" were a hit, and have continued to be sold in Canada ever since. Although Shirriff's produced various types of marmalade. their most famous brand is probably Shirriff’s Good Morning Marmalade, a three-fruit mixture of lemon, orange and grapefruit.
By the time Francis A. Shirriff died in 1944, a third generation was becoming involved in the business, in the person of William’s son, William David Shirriff, known as David. In the mid-60s, the family sold their shares in the company, and the Shirriff marmalades are now owned by the American J.M. Smucker company, but the story of the 80-year family business is a fascinating one.