On June 5th 1873, two brothers James and Gilbert (G.W) Ganong founded Ganong Bros., Limited in St. Stephen New Brunswick. Primarily a producer of boxed chocolates, it now provides many chocolates for Laura Secord stores.
The Ganongs were descendants of Huguenots who fled persecution in France and emigrated to New Amsterdam in the second half of the 17th century, the family name “Ganong” is a corruption of the original French language name, “Guenon”.
Ganong Brothers Limited has been one of the Canadian chocolate industry’s most important companies. Arthur Ganong was the first to make any sort of a wrapped chocolate bar; Ganong began selling the first chocolate bars in 1910. In 1920 they began using the brand name “Pal-O-Mine” for their chocolate bar.
The company also was the first to introduce a heart-shaped box of chocolates in North America. The heart-shaped boxes were originally used for presents over the Christmas season before it also succeeded around Valentine’s Day.
In 1911, Ganong Bros. purchased the bankrupt White Candy Company in Saint John and operated a factory there until 1931.
Ganong’s long history is showcased at its Chocolate Museum (Fr:Le Musée du Chocolat) which opened in 1999 in their old factory building in St. Stephen. Exhibits describe the Ganong brothers and the company, and include hands-on and interactive displays about the process of making chocolate and candies historically and currently, and a display of historic chocolate boxes and antique candy-making equipment. Visitors can also taste chocolate samples. The building also houses the Ganong Chocolatier company store.
In conjunction with the community, the museum co-hosts the St. Stephen Chocolate Festival, which has been held since 1985. In 2000 the town was registered as “Canada’s Chocolate Town”.