“James and Gilbert Ganong formed a partnership with James Picard of Calais, Maine to manufacture soap in 1878. The business was incorporated in 1884.
The plant was located on Depot Street (today’s Garcelon Center on Budd Ave.) opposite the Canadian Pacific Railway (today’s 5 Kings Restaurant.) This location gave them ample shipping facilities.
In 1894 the business added an extension to their building, 30 feet by 50 feet, three stories high. This was to accommodate a new kettle that had recently been purchased. The kettle was one of the largest of its kind, having a capacity of fifty thousand pounds or a carload of soap.
The Company produced several different brands: Sea Foam Soap for bath and toilet; White Cross Soap powders for all general uses, and the well-known Surprise Soap.”
“Used as a laundry soap, for washing dishes and for Saturday night’s shampoo and bath, SurpriseSoap was the company’s biggest seller. Carpenters always carried a bar of Surprise Soap with them for greasing spikes and screws.”
In 1913 the business was sold to Lever Brothers of Toronto, a subsidiary of the British conglomerate.
The factory would continue on Depot Street until 1946 when, faced with a shortage of raw materials and uncertain demand, the company closed.
sources: St. Stephen - Yesteryear by Doug Dougherty & Wikipedia