Famous for its chocolate covered nougat, peanuts and caramel or “Sweet Marie”, the Willard Chocolate Factory opened it’s doors in Toronto in 1917. After incorporating in 1920 it located its headquarters at 453 Wellington Street a stone’s throw away from Spadina (the building was demolished in the 1970’s).
The competition was stiff with Laura Secord and Neilson’s vying for market share. So in the 1920’s Willard started including sports cards with their chocolate. Hockey stars, baseball greats and even the odd celebrity swimmer (think Tarzan) were featured. In 1931 they launched their signature “Sweet Marie” a chocolate bar still enjoyed by Canadians today (now made by Cadbury/Neilson’s and not available across the border!). But the end of the Second World War saw prices of cocoa and sugar rise expeditiously and Canadian youth took to the streets in Vancouver to protest the 3 cent hike in the chocolate bar. By in 1954 George Weston bought out Willards but the company remained under their own name until 1968.
(Photo courtesy of Urban Toronto)
Willards Chocolate Store Display
with original distressed paint finish