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History of the Nanaimo Bar

Updated: Feb 26

I was thinking about this while cutting trays of them this morning… We get asked about Nanaimo bars a lot, especially from our visitors across the bridge.

Flavour-wise: it’s a 3-layer bar with a chocolate-coconut crumb base, a custardy middle, and a layer of chocolate on top.

While we know its a classic Canadian dessert, originating in the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia, I didn’t know much more than that, so I looked it up!

The history seems to be quite foggy, but the recipe was first published in 1952 in the “Nanaimo Hospital Cookbook”. Folklore says it’s an old coal miner snack. And it’s gone by so many other names: chocolate square, New York Slice, London Fog Bar, prayer bar, Mabel’s bars, etc.

The town of Nanaimo has totally embraced it, and even has an area of town called the “Nanaimo Bar Trail” where you can try all kinds of variations on this Canadian treat, including deep-fried versions, Nanaimo flavoured cupcakes lattes, fudge and martinis.

Or even go get a Nanaimo-bar themed pedicure!!

Want to know how to pronounce "Nanaimo"come see our funny video here:


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