From 1934 to 1968, the Goody Sweets candy store stood at the corner of Quebec and Wyndham Street in St. George’s Square, selling homemade hard candies, pulled taffy, Irish potatoes, candy canes and caramel crisp popcorn, among other treats. At Easter, their chocolate bunnies often caused a frenzy. Customers would form huge lineups out the door, eager to get their hands on one before the store sold out.
Guelph Museums is paying homage to the beloved store with a new exhibition. How Sweet It Was: Goody Sweets Candy Store, 1934 to 1968 explores the storied history of Gus and Elane Mano’s candy shop. It is set to open on Friday, January 23, with a reception starting at 6:30 pm.
Florence Rilett, daughter of Gus and Elane Mano, believes it was the sheer variety of candies that made Goody Sweets unique and so popular within the Guelph community. “Other stores would have lunch counters with candy on the side, but we specialized solely in candy.”
Rilett has many vivid memories of the store. “I loved working Saturdays when we made caramel crisp popcorn,” Rilett recalls. “My father would cool the popcorn on a big aluminum tray by the window. When the customers caught a whiff of the wonderful aroma, they got excited because they knew it was coming. When it cooled down, we sold 5 and 10 cent bags.”
When the store closed after her father passed away, Rilett chose to save many of the tools they used to make their candy. “I practically grew up in that store, so I wanted to keep as much as possible,” says Rillett. “I also felt that the store was an important part of Guelph history, and that people would be interested in seeing some of this stuff.”
The Guelph Civic Museum exhibition provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how they made some of their most popular confections, and it features many of the artifacts Florence saved from the store, including the moulds they used to make their chocolate bunnies.
“Goody Sweets was so popular that people still remember it today” says Guelph Museums curator Bev Dietrich. “The exhibit tells a fascinating story through the use of artifacts and photographs.”
The January 23 reception coincides with the first Fourth Friday concert of the new year. Following opening remarks at 6:30 pm, Fiona McCairley and Bob McClean, a guitar and fiddle duo, will play Celtic music.
Museum admission will be free on Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm. Guelph Civic Museum is located at 52 Norfolk St.
For more information
Community Relations Coordinator