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The Lure of Chocolate: Historic Places Associated with Canada’s Chocolate Heritage

Published: February 2015

Whether you have an occasional sweet tooth or are a full-fledged chocoholic, nothing compares to the mouth-watering pleasure of savouring chocolate in any of its many forms. This delectable treat is enjoyed around the globe and Canada is no exception. In fact, chocolate was consumed in New-France as early as the 1700s by European colonists. Since then, Canadians have enjoyed this treat made by our own world-class chocolatiers and confectioners. Here are a few historic places associated with Canada's chocolate heritage.

Rogers Chocolates

RogersCharles "Candy" Rogers began making chocolates in 1885 in the back of his Victoria, British Columbia grocery store. His great success allowed him to commission a new building from which he could sell his popular products. Designed by architects Thomas Hooper and John Teague, the 1903 building is notable for its unique combination of Queen Anne architecture on the exterior, and Art Nouveau details within. Roger's Chocolates still operates from the Government Street location making it one of the city's older and more prominent businesses.

Ganong Brothers Ltd.

At the opposite end of the country in New Brunswick exists another extraordinary Canadian chocolate company established by brothers James H. and Gilbert White Ganong. The two brothers began as grocers, with candy and chocolate sales being only a small part of their business. They soon realized, however, that a specialized product would help them gain an edge on their competitors. After specializing in fresh oysters and later, their own brand of soap, the brothers decided that candy and chocolate were the keys to success. The company, first operating under the name G.W. Ganong, began making candy and chocolate on 8 May, Ganong1873 in a large Italianate-style factory now known as the Old Ganong Candy Factory located in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The Ganong Brothers were the first to use heart-shaped boxes to package their chocolates; their first shipment was made not on Valentine's Day, but actually during Christmas of 1932! The company is also credited with developing and producing the first Canadian lollipop in 1895, as well as the first chocolate nut bar in North America in 1910. Ganong Brothers Ltd. is now Canada's oldest family-owned candy and chocolate maker.

Moirs Ltd.

moirsMoirs Limited is another Canadian company which produces chocolates and confections. They are best known for the 'Pot of Gold' boxed chocolates, first introduced in 1928. Originally founded as a bakery in 1816 by Scottish immigrant Benjamin Moir, the company eventually expanded to include the production of chocolate in 1903. To serve the increasing demand for Moirs products, production expanded and as a result several buildings and structures were built, including concrete dams, an electrical generating plant, and the power house. The Moirs Ltd. Power House in Bedford, Nova Scotia, is the last remaining building associated with the Moirs refining plant and wooden box mill. The Power House also included a surge tower to increase the capacity and to maintain consistent power. Another designated historic place, Smalley's Jewellery, in Saint John, New Brunswick, is also associated with Moirs Ltd., which occupied the building from 1919-1941.

Although cacao is not native to Canada, we nevertheless have embraced it in all its forms whether as a comforting beverage to warm us after a day on the ski slopes or as a solid bar sandwiched between graham crackers and gooey marshmallow around the campfire. Chocolate remains one of the most popular treats for Canadians of all ages and we are fortunate to have such a long, rich relationship with this amazing confection. After all, history is sweet!

Other sources:

Wikipedia - Chocolate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate

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