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A brief history of bacon: charting Toronto’s enduring fascination with the glorious, salty stuff


A brief history of bacon

1875
1875
Canadian bacon is born when British émigré William Davies starts selling salt-cured pork loin peameal at a stall in the St. Lawrence Market.

1898
1898
“Hogtown,” once a pejorative used by Hamiltonians to describe Toronto’s greedy-as-pigs inhabitants, is proudly embraced by the city as the William Davies Company becomes the largest pork processor in the British Empire.

1973
1973
Nearly a century later, Carousel Bakery, in the St. Lawrence ­Market, sells its signature stack of peameal on a white bun.

1985
1985
Thanks to spandex-clad, fat-phobic celebrities like Jane Fonda, bacon becomes the culinary equivalent of lead paint.

2008
2008
The economy tanks, prompting Toronto chefs to forgo frills like caviar for cheap comforts (i.e., bacon). The modern phase of creative bacon consumption begins.

2009
2009
Sweet Treats CNE food stand debuts chocolate-covered bacon.

2009
2009
Two colossal trends collide when Park­dale’s Yummy Stuff bakes its first chocolate-oatmeal cupcake with maple-bacon frosting. For the Love of Cake bakery soon follows with maple-bacon mancakes.

2011
2011
A survey reveals that 43 per cent of Canadians prefer bacon to sex. J&D’s Foods asks, “Why choose?” and introduces bacon-flavoured lube, possibly the least scrumptious use of bacon ever.

2011
2011
Rosedale gourmet grocer All the Best Fine Foods debuts $20 jars of bacon jam. President’s Choice follows with $5 bacon marmalade.

2012
2012
Toronto’s first Baconfest is held in Leslieville. It includes bacon waffles and, this being Leslieville, bacon tofu. Rashers, also in Leslieville, claims to be North America’s first ­­all-bacon sandwich shop.

1973
2013
The Only Cafe on the Danforth sells a bacon-flavoured beer called Aporkalypse Now Oatmeal Bacon Stout from HogsBack Brewing Company.

Photographs: William Davies Shop and Davies Pen of Hogs from Wikimedia 1 Commons; Peameal sandwich by Carlo Mendoza; Caviar from iStock; Bacon by Karon Liu; Cupcakes courtesy of Yummy Stuff and For the Love of Cake; Lube courtesy of J&D’s Foods; Bacon Jam and Marmalade by Carlo Mendoza; Rashers storefront by Igor Yu; Beer courtesy of Hogsback Brewing Company