Day 692: Nanaimo Bar

On a road trip across Canada, Laetitia and her grandmother had found rest areas for potty stops rare, but there was a saving grace. Just about every town had a Tim Horton’s coffee shop, where they could have a decent cup of coffee and sample one of the establishment’s baked offerings, either sweet or savory, before or after using their plumbing. On their visits to the restaurant chain, which was founded by a famous Canadian hockey player in 1964, Laetitia always had a Nanaimo bar with her coffee. Unfortunately, in an example of vacuous corporate wisdom, the Canadian chain made an alliance with a fast-food burger chain from the United States, and, in dumbing down their product line, they discontinued the Nanaimo bars. Thus, one of Laetitia’s goals in taking her group to Nanaimo today was to have one of those layered chocolate, vanilla custard, coconut, almond, and graham-cracker-crumb morsels originally created in the 1950s by Mabel Jenkins, a Nanaimo-area housewife.

Nanaimo is a harbor city on Vancouver Island, separated from mainland Canada by the Georgia Strait. It is sometimes called the “Tub City” because of its whimsical bathtub boat race held every July. The racing boats are usually not actual bathtubs, but rather hydroplanes with tub-shaped fiberglass cockpits for which a real bathtub served as the form. Laetitia and her group inspected one of the boats, noting its powerful outboard motor with a kill switch to stop the boat if the operator falls overboard. Afterward they went to a local museum and art gallery, and then to Chinatown.

After treating everyone to Nanaimo bars from a local confectioner, she dropped her group at their hotel and went to an actual Nanaimo bar to have a drink and write a limerick. The bar gossip about an adventurous couple who accidently kicked the throttle of their bathtub boat during their amorous enthusiasm seemed far-fetched, but Laetitia used it as the basis for a limerick anyway.

One who hankers for love in strange places
Like the boats for Nanaimo tub races
Should beware of a glitch
And hook up the kill switch
Before he his partner embraces.