Hailing from — where else — the West coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Nanaimo bars' origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery. You can find the very first mention of this distinctly Canadian delicacy in a 1952 cookbook entitled "Women's Auxiliary of the Nanaimo Hospital Cookbook," where it was labeled simply as "chocolate squares." One year later, the no-bake treat appeared in The Vancouver Sun's "Edith Adams Cookbook" under the name Nanaimo bars.
Voted "Canada's Favourite Confection" by the National Post in 2006, Canadians adore this no-bake dessert because of how they easy it is to make and its devilishly-sweet taste. Can you believe there are even Nanaimo bar postage stamps?
"It is a signature dessert for this country, up there with the famous butter tart and the other desserts," said Nanaimo mayor Leonard Krog in a 2019 interview preceding the release of the official Nanaimo bar stamp. "I always say to everybody, whenever I'm at an event if there's Nanaimo bar: 'Be patriotic. Eat some Nanaimo bar.'"
Despite the public's overwhelming support for the Post's immortalization of the popular dessert, the Nanaimo bar stamp found itself in the center of a Canadian scandal because of how its custard base was depicted, as noted by one particularly peeved Twitter user:
The questionable proportions caused so much of a stir that Joyce Hardcastle (the winner of a 1986 competition held to find the go-to Nanaimo bar recipe) weighed in on #NanaimoGate saying the following:
"The only comment I can make is that I don't disagree. The two bottom layers are pretty equal. The top layer is a bit thinner. And it does look nicer than that."