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Canadian Cuisine Timeline 1907-1980

Before I go on to the Canadian food inventions and innovations, I think it’s important to list in broad stroke of our timeline. Because of the length, I am breaking up the timeline into three posts.  This is post three.  You can find the introduction post at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/canadian-cuisine-intro/, and post one at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/canadian-cuisine-timeline-1497-1793/ and part two at https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/canadian-cuisine-timeline-1816 -1890/ .

Canadian Food Graphic1907: The Meat and Canned Food Act becomes law. This enabled the federal inspection of meat-packing plants. As a result, Canadians stop dying from bacteria-infected meats and botulism.

1909: George Saunders hybridizes cold-tolerant, disease-resistant wheat called Marquis that sees distribution to all prairie farmers. After a decade, Saunders’ discovery accounted for 90 percent of Canada’s wheat crop.

1910: Arthur Ganong, a St. Stephen, N.B., chocolate maker, created the chocolate bar after deciding that fishermen might like a convenient form of his chocolGanong Chocolate Bar Pictreate. It is interesting  to note that the company was the first to introduce a heart-shaped box of chocolates in North America.

1914: World War I begins, and Canadians begin food rationing. Housewives learn to bake barley bread.

1919: Toronto grocers Theodore Pringle Loblaw and J. Milton Cork opened the first Loblaw Groceterias store modelled on a new and radically different retail concept, namely ‘self serve.’

1920: James Lewis Kraft, born in Stevensville, Ontario, added a Montreal cheese factory to his growing food-processing empire and gave Canada a taste of his patented invention – processed cheese.

1924: Clarence Birdseye founds the General Seafood Company and perfects his freezing technique through a device he called the Quick Freeze Machine. Clarence Birdeye’s Labrador invention enableed access to almost-fresh veggies all winter long. However, there was no way for storekeepers to stock frozen products. Soon, Birdseye invents a freezer that will help both the public and store-keepers.

1929: The Great Depression. Hard times have a marked effect on the nation’s eating habits, and dinners change from roast beef, to casserole, to creamed salmon on toast, to liver loaf with ketchup (meat loaf).

1929: The Wonder brand was licensed to George Weston’s Canada Bread and to this day remains one of largest-selling breads in Canada.

1937: Kraft Dinner first appeared on grocery store shelves.

1939: Canada was at war. With women working in factories, manufactured foods that can be quickly prepared became an intrinsic part of wartime family meals.

1940: Fred Moffat, an electrical researcher for the Canadian General Electric, invented the electric kettle, and breakfasts became even quicker.

1942: Food rationing became law. Sugar: 3/4 lb. per week per person was reduced to 1/2 lb.; tea and coffee: 1 oz. per week per person; butter: 1/2 lb. per week per person; and meat: 2 lb per week per person.

1945: Canadian servicemen and women who fought in Italy return from the war with a taste for pizza.

1946: American scientist Percy Spencer accidentally discovered that microwaves cook food when a radio transmitter he is perfecting melts a candy bar on his worktable.

1952: Our first television station, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), begins broadcasting in Toronto and Montreal, and one of the first commercial advertisers is the Campbell Soup Company with their famous Campbell Kids cartoon characters.

1954: The Saputo family, recently immigrated to Montréal from Italy, turns to making cheeses for the Italian community. In 1957, capitalizing on the rising popularity of pizza, they established a factory.

TV Dinner advertisement1956: Loblaw Groceterias began selling “TV Dinner Brand Frozen Dinner”, a C.A. Swanson product.

1957: McCain Foods opened a plant in Florenceville, New Brunswick to process potatoes into frozen French fries. Today they have over 30 factories around the world.

1962: Edward Asselbergs, a research scientist at the Canadian Department of Agriculture in Ottawa, invented instant mashed potato flakes.

1964: Tim Horton, hockey player, opened a doughnut shop in Hamilton, Ontario. Today, there are as many as 4,590 locations in Canada.

1980: M&M Meat Shops open a store in Kitchener, Ontario. Today there are about 500 stores across Canada.

In my next posts, I will focus on each province and territory and their individual flavours.

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