Help support the small independant vendors of the historic St. Lawrence Market

Canadian Food Trivia

Hello Fellow Foodies,

Happy Canada Day!

We hope you enjoy your holiday with family, friends and lots of great food, while you are chowing down, here is some great Canadian Food Trivia for you

St. Lawrence Market - Our favourite food place!

In case you didn’t know St. Lawrence Market has played an major part in the city’s food scene since it began 217years ago. As a matter of fact, at one time it was a bylaw that you could only buy fruit, vegetables, meat, fish & dairy products in Toronto at St. Lawrence Market. Saturday was the designated shopping day so people could not shop the other days of the week. The main south market building was originally built as city hall, the police station and the jail in the basement. It was converted to a public market building in 1902.It is hard to imagine but St. Lawrence Market is older than Canada itself.

As you dig into your food box take a minute to think about the history behind your food. Here are some of the interesting facts about Canadian Food Inventions

Kozlik’s Mustard – Canada’s mustard maker since 1948 with over 38 flavours is located in the historic St. Lawrence Market

Ketchup Chips -This is inexplicably a Canadian classic. The ketchup chip has quite a complicated history. Invented in the '70s (the ultimate decade of experiment), the ketchup chip came to be when Hostess (now Lays) rolled the dice on a line of fruit-flavoured chips, like orange and grape.

Walter Caesar Mix -Named after Walter Chell, a restaurant manager and inventor of the bloody Caesar in Calgary Alberta in 1969

Future Bakery Toronto – Future Bakery, one of Toronto’s best loved bakeries, was started by a gentleman who was once the master baker in Czar Nicholas’s court in Russia. He escaped when the red army came, fled across Europe, fell in love and immigrated to Canada. Once here he opened a small bakery, calling it Future Bakery because it represented his future in a new country with his new love.

Nanaimo Bars - The history of the Nanaimo bar can be traced back to the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo, B.C., with the first known recipe published in 1953.

Butter Tarts – An Ontario invention. When the French & the English settled Canada the French brought with them the Tarte au Sucre or Sugar Pie recipe. The English brought with them the treacle tart recipe. They both had to adapt the recipes based on ingredients that could be found here in Ontario thus the butter tart was born.

Canada Dry Ginger Ale - In 1890, Canadian pharmacist and chemist John J. McLaughlin of Enniskillen, Ontario, after working in a soda factory in Brooklyn, New York, opened a carbonated water plant in Toronto. McLaughlin was the eldest son of Robert McLaughlin, founder of McLaughlin Carriage and McLaughlin Motor Car. In 1904, McLaughlin created "Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale". Three years later, the drink was appointed to the Vice Regal Household of the Governor General of Canada, and the label featuring a beaver atop a map of Canada was replaced with the present Crown and shield.
When McLaughlin began shipping his product to New York, it became so popular that he opened a plant in Manhattan shortly thereafter. Canada Dry's popularity as a mixer began during Prohibition, when its flavor helped mask the taste of homemade liquor. In the 1930s, Canada Dry expanded worldwide. From the 1950s onward, the company introduced a larger number of products

Fruit & Vegetables – our favourite fruit & vegetable vendor in Toronto is Ponesse Foods. They are the oldest continuously operating fruit & vegetable vendor in St. Lawrence Market. Mario and his family have been there since 1903. Did you know that The potato is the most widely cultivated vegetable in Canada. Excluding potatoes, Ontario ranks first in vegetable production, both in yield and area. Another interesting fact is that most fruit cultivated in Canada belong to the rose family They include fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, cherries and apricots, as well as berries such as strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries

Peameal Bacon – Peameal Bacon Sandwiches have become the signature dish of Toronto. Peameal bacon was invented in the 1870’s by a butcher in St. Lawrence Market, William Davies. It was originally coated in ground up dehydrated peas to keep if from drying out as it was being exported to England. William Davies became the largest hog producer in the British Empire, harvesting over a million hogs per year. That is how Toronto got the nickname Hogtown. The company is still around today. It is now called Canada Packers / Maple Leaf Foods

PoutineFew Canadian dishes are as world-renowned as the glorious creation known as poutine. Crispy fries, squeaky cheese curds and rich gravy all combine to create the meal of dreams, and this French Canadian food is so popular that it can now be found all around the world. The classic version is great on its own, but toppings like pulled pork, bacon and smoked meat really knock it out of the park

BannockDelicious and versatile, bannock is a simple bread that was once a key staple in the diets of Canada’s Aboriginal people. Modern takes on bannock include baked versions (which are heavy/dense) and fried versions (which are crispy and fluffy on the inside). In recent years, bannock has seen a surge in popularity, with new twists and variations popping up in bakeries and cafes nationwide – you have to try it!

Beaver Tails - Imagine a slab of delicious, deep-fried dough, covered in a variety of toppings like Nutella, Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter and more. While it’s not exactly a traditional Canadian food, beavertails are gooey, crispy and a taste of true perfection. No visit to Canada is complete without one!

Montreal Bagels from St. Urbain Bagel in St. Lawrence Market - Montreal’s bagels (or Jewish bagels as they are sometimes called) are the unsung heroes of great Canadian food. Sweeter, denser and thinner than their NYC counterparts, Montreal bagels are boiled in honey water to give them a sweetness, rolled in poppy or sesame seeds and baked in stone ovens.

Only in Canada Chocolate Bars - Who can resist an ooey gooey good chocolate bar. Did you know that these popular brands are only available here in Canada: Coffee Crisp, Smarties, Caramilk, Wonderbar, Cherry Blossom, Crispy Crunch, Mr. Big & Jersey Milk.

We hope you enjoy some of these foods even more now that you know its history. We firmly believe that things taste better when you know the origins and back story of what you are eating.

Happy Eating

 Chef Scott

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published