Ganong Bros. satisfying sweet tooths for 148 years in Chocolate Town

Posted on January 21, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments

Peppermint candies, hand-crafted chocolates and chicken bones are all classic treats that Atlantic Canadians are sure to recognize from Ganong Bros. Rooted in New Brunswick, Ganong is known as the first and longest-running Canadian chocolate company, still going strong after 148 years. Having accomplished many Canadian firsts, a museum was established to showcase its sweet history and its hometown is now known as ‘Canada’s Chocolate Town’.


The original Ganong Bros. factory (photo credit: Ganong Bros.)


Finding Focus

Brothers James and Gilbert Ganong founded their namesake company in 1873 in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Originally, the business was a small retail operation. But, after struggling as grocers, the brothers added candy to their shelves and customers could not get enough. Ganong Bros. had found its niche. Wanting to further differentiate themselves, James and Gilbert began making their own candy, which paved the way for Ganong to become one of Canada’s most successful chocolateries. By 1930, the corporation had grown to 700 employees.


Chicken Bones packaging (left, photo credit: Ganong Bros.) and a candy maker pulling chicken bones by hand (right, photo credit: CBC)


Classic Treat

A famous Ganong-made product is their interestingly-named Chicken Bones. Originally made in 1885 by candy maker Frank Sparhawk, the cinnamon-flavoured candy with a chocolate centre has become a Ganong classic, especially around the holidays.

The meaning behind the name isn’t known for sure, but it’s likely related to the candy’s long and thin shape (like a bone) and the bittersweet chocolate ‘marrow’ centre. Chicken Bones have been sold under the same name for 136 years and over 700-million have been made.


Chocolates imprinted with the Ganong name (left) and Ganong’s Pal-o-Mine chocolate bar (right) with a list of tourist activities in Canada’s Chocolate Town (photo credit: Ganong Bros.).


Paving the Way

Having accomplished many Canadian firsts, Ganong candy making has paved the way. In 1888, they were the first chocolate company to emboss the bottom of chocolates with their brand, using a patented process. They were also the first in Canada to make lozenges, sell wooden-stick lollipops and license Sunkist fruit snacks.

One of the first and longest-selling chocolate bars in North America is a Ganong product. Originating as a solution to keep Arthur Ganong’s pockets clean (they were the first North American company to wrap individual chocolate bars), candy maker Ed Bosein perfected Ganong’s Pal-o-Mine chocolate bar in 1920.

Ganong Bros. also created the first heart-shaped chocolate box in Canada in 1930. Originally introduced at Christmas time, the boxes are now a Valentine’s Day tradition.


Chocolate museum at the original Ganong factory location (photo credit: Trip Advisor).


Chocolate Museum & Town

Since 1999, the original Ganong factory has been home to The Chocolate Museum, which showcases the history of the Ganong family, their business and candy making itself. There you can see interactive displays, vintage packaging and candy makers dip Ganong chocolates by hand.

Ganong made such an impact on the town that St. Stephen registered as ‘Canada’s Chocolate Town’ in 2000. Visitors can immerse themselves in chocolate at the Ganong Chocolatier store, the museum and the annual Chocolate Festival.


Ganong’s original Delecto boxed chocolate packaging from 1917 (left) compared to recent convenience grab and go options (right) introduced in 2018 (photo credit: Ganong Bros.)


Ganong Quality

Today, Ganong Bros. remains a family-led business led by fifth-generation Ganong family president and CEO, Bryana Ganong. Recently, Ganong began operational changes to increase productivity with new equipment and by streamlining product lines. However, after 148 years, quality remains paramount and customers can still enjoy their favourite Delecto boxed chocolates and Chicken Bones all the same.

If you’re craving a sweet treat, Ganong has you covered.


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