Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Department Store Candy Counter

When I entered Grade 7, my mom let me take the bus downtown with a friend.  It was a rite of passage.  We visited the department stores, including Kresge's, Woolworth's, The Right House, and Eaton's.  A highlight for me was a stop at the candy counter.  Just the aroma would put me in a good mood.  Customers could purchase anything from rosebuds to malt balls to broken O'Henry's to hard candy.  I would always choose chocolate squares which the clerk would place in a white paper bag for me to savour on the bus ride home.

While Hamilton had its fair share of chocolate, Toronto had a rich history in the candy business. The Kerr Brothers, who made hard candies and toffee, originated in St. Thomas but moved to Toronto in 1904.  Rockets were produced at the Ce De Factory on Queen Street, the same street where Eaton's was located.  Laura Secord Chocolates, owned by Toronto's Frank O'Connor opened its doors on Yonge Street in 1913.  (My Dad recently told me that Americans liked Laura Secord Chocolates so much that they sold them in the U.S. as well.  However, with bad memories of Laura Secord warning the British that The Americans were coming during the War of 1812, they sold the chocolates under a different name.)  Finally, the British Company, Cadbury, operated on Gladstone Avenue.  It was there that the Crispy Crunch was born in 1930 as a result of an employee competition.

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