What's in a BeaverTail? Ottawa's favourite pastry celebrates 40 years in the ByWard Market

BeaverTails opened its ByWard Market stand 40 years ago. It now has 160 locations worldwide. (Peter Szperling/CTV Ottawa)

It's Ottawa's favourite pastry, loved by tourists and locals. BeaverTails is celebrating 40 years in the Byward Market.

What exactly is a BeaverTail?

Founder Grant Hooker explains: "It's like hot, homemade, whole-wheat bread right out of the oven and buttered, combined with a fresh donut. There's that crispiness to them."

BeaverTails has become a must-visit tourist spot while visiting the capital, according to Karim Mufarrij, assistant general manager at the Byward Market location.

"Almost every day we have a bunch of people who say that they're always recommended to go grab a BeaverTail, and everyone tells them that once they get to Ottawa definitely go down to the ByWard Market."

There are up to 12 flavours, or toppings, you can customize the pastry with, although the Killaloe Sunrise is the favourite, according to Mufarrij.

"We always love them, and that's the one that made us famous. It's the classic with a lemon on the side - delicious, can't go wrong."

Killaloe Sunrise is named after the Ontario town where BeaverTails originally started in 1978, before moving to the ByWard Market in 1980 - 40 years ago.

Hooker made the pastry famous, based on a family recipe: "My grandmother made BeaverTails for us when we were growing up."

Before moving to the ByWard Market, he served the delicious treat at local festivals out of a food van.

"We were involved with a craft fair near Killaloe, and they needed food and we served them, and people went nuts."

When asked if he ever thought that his creation would've grown so large, he explained he had much smaller goals.

"When we started selling BeaverTails, all we were trying to do was earn enough money to buy a TV."

BeaverTails is now at 160 locations, including in the U.S. and Mexico.  

In Ottawa, you can grab a BeaverTail at various locations, including while going for a skate down the canal.

"A lot of parents say we can't get our kids onto the canal skateway unless we promise them a BeaverTail."

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