How to Make Proper Canadian Squares

In Canada there is this thing called Squares.

It’s a dessert.

It’s very common.

It’s nothing I’d ever heard of before until I moved here. Don’t believe me? Look what happens if you google “squares:”

Exactly what you’d expect to happen, right? Normal everyday squares.

But look what happens if you confine your search for squares to Canada:

     Who that guy in the middle is I may never know but I feel bad that he showed up in my google search for Canadian Squares. Poor schmuck.

Now, the first time anyone ever asked me to bring Squares to a church function, I, like many of you, asked (what I thought was) the obvious question:

Squares of what?

What do you mean, Squares of what? Squares of Squares!

I didn’t understand: Yes, squares, but square-shaped what? Quilt blocks? Ice trays? Paper plates? Legos? What specifically would you like me to bring in the shape of a square?

When I finally understood that it was a dessert, I proceeded to ask the next (again seemingly) obvious question: What kind of Squares? As in, what recipe? Rice Krispie Squares? Brownie Squares? Those were really the only kind of square dessert I’d ever had before.

Any kind will do.

Apparently there is no one recipe for Squares. Every housewife has her own, either passed down for generations or made up or forged from her neighbor or torn out of a Canadian Living from years past.


I worked myself into quite the domestic tizzy over that one.

Now, after living in Canada for over four years, I guess I’m a seasoned professional at Squares. Or something. At any rate, there’s been another death in my ward, and there’s a funeral on Saturday for which I have agreed to bring a plateful of Squares. So here’s your multicutural lesson for the day:

How to make Canadian Squares:

Make a pan of dessert. Any dessert will do. A 9 x 13″ pan is the standard expectation (don’t worry, I had to ask about that too).

Then slice the panful of said dessert into just-larger-than-bitesize (because exactly bitesize portions look stingy but much bigger is too awkward to arrange on a platter, plus they’re usually rich enough that 1.5 bites is plenty) square sections. Or rectangles. Really any shape is fine. They’re all called Squares.

Place the any-shaped dessert portions onto a serving tray or plate and deliver to whatever party, wedding, funeral, or random neighbor you’ve been assigned/coerced/inspired to Square.


I’ll try to remember to let you know how mine turn out.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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8 Responses to How to Make Proper Canadian Squares

  1. chelsie says:

    I feel like these square things would only add more confusion to my life.

  2. irene says:

    hummm i didn’t get it… any dessert just cut in squares? isn’t that a bit vague?

  3. the MIL says:

    He is Ben Mulroney, son of a former Prime Minister. Television entertainment show host.
    Squares are not just any dessert. For example, they are not ice cream. They are cake-ish or cookie-ish things baked in a pan and cute into….squares.

    PS What the heck do Americans call them?

  4. CaJoh says:

    We call them Pan cookies here in the states. Which makes me wonder what they call regular cookies “Circles”??? You crazy Canadians… gotta love your creativity!

  5. Joel says:

    Completely random. I was hoping when I got to the end of your post YOUR recipe was going to be there! So how do YOU make squares?

  6. Mameelynn says:

    I knew exactly what you meant when I saw your post title. In fact I was over at my mom’s house (we both live in the USA right now) and she she needed her squares pan and my husband gave her an odd look and then I got it also from him when I went right to the pan I knew she wanted. Even our favorite squares would leave most people here scratching their heads because they are called Yumyum Squares…lol

  7. Dutch girl says:

    I think we also have squares here in Northern Ireland…
    My boyfriend always says he’s square in a round world – which makes me laugh out loud everytime he says that :-)

  8. Katie Harvey says:

    This post is awesome. My first calling after arriving here in Canada was to be in charge of the Relief Society Meetings formerly known as Enrichment. During our first committee meeting, someone suggested “squares” for the refreshment and everyone nodded in consent as I gave them a blank stare. It took them a while to understand that I actually didn’t know what they were talking about. To clarify, someone said, “You know, like Nanaimo!” Needless to say, that didn’t clarify anything.

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