An iconic Canadian treat, first immortalized in a Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre Auxiliary cookbook almost 120 years ago, is now being shared on letters and parcels around the world.
Canada Post has issued a sweet series of five colourful stamps depicting traditional made-in-Canada desserts, including the butter tart.
Did you know RVH played a key role in this gooey goodness’ rise to fame?
Back in 1900, the Royal Victoria Hospital Women’s Auxiliary created a cookbook, with proceeds going to help build a new 13-bed hospital in downtown Barrie. On page 88 of the small, battered and crumbling book is Mrs. Malcolm (Mary) McLeod’s recipe simply titled ‘filling for tarts’. At a mere 17 words, it is – pardon the pun – short and sweet.
Fast forward 110 years and Toronto Life magazine adds the butter tarts at the Nathan Phillips Square’s farmers’ market on its “100 Must-Try-Before-You-Die” bucket list and credits the Canadian first to Mrs. MacLeod and the RVH Woman’s Auxiliary cookbook.
Who knew that this unassuming, brief formula was the earliest known published recipe for butter tarts, a fun fact acknowledged by Canada Post.
Since then, this iconic Canadian treat has been celebrated with tours, baking contests and festivals across the country.
These bite-sized bundles of sugary perfection were previously sold in RVH’s Café Royale, an Auxiliary-run business that in the last five years has raised more than $750,000 for patient care at the health centre.
There have been a lot of changes in RVH’s 122-year history, but some things just haven’t changed. Butter tarts for one thing. The other is the stalwart support of the health centre’s volunteer Auxiliary.