The Beaver Tail, a simple, hand-stretched wheat dough may be deep-fried like its counterparts (looking at you, doughnut) – but distinguishes itself as a Canadian staple treat, topped with anything from the original cinnamon sugar to decadent Nutella, whipped cream, and fresh fruit.
The beginning of its history can be traced back to the 19th century, when Indigenous peoples would cook the tails of beavers over an open fire until the skin cracked and loosened, giving way to the meat inside. Taking inspiration from the traditional methods of cooking meat over an open fire, early settlers began to cook their bread in the same way. Using a dough that requires little to no rising, it was quick and easy to cook over an open fire, stretched over one or two sticks in the shape of a beaver’s tail. This bread is referred to as bannock, similar to the dough used for Beaver Tails today, and is seen by many as the beginning of the quintessential sweet treat of Canada. It wasn’t until 1978 that Beaver Tails Canada Inc., trademarked the dessert, laying claim to its official creation.
The product received national media attention in the US and Canada when it was served at the Canadian embassy during Obama’s inauguration and was mentioned in newscasts during the lead-up to U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa, as an example of how Canadian businesses were participating in Obama’s visit. On the day of the visit, February 19, 2009, Barack Obama stopped at the ByWard Market on his way to the airport specifically to buy a Beaver Tails pastry.