The story begins in 1885 when Charles Rogers, born the son of a Massachusetts farmer, moved to British Columbia. There he began his business in Victoria, as a grocery store owner on Government Street. Together with his wife Leah Morrison, he brought in produce and imported chocolate from San Francisco. He was quick to notice that the chocolate was extremely popular. Thus, it was decided that he would make the chocolate himself in the backroom, while Leah managed the retail store.
Charles Rogers’ first creation was his Victoria Creams which became a local favourite. It did not take long before his chocolate was so popular that people would travel from out of the city to buy them. He worked over his boiling cauldron and became Canada’s first chocolatier and was nicknamed Charles “Candy” Rogers.
In 1891, Charles moved the store and facility to a larger building down the street. By that time the business had flourished and expanded to the degree that his chocolate was known across the country and around the world. People would travel to their shop to taste the first and finest quality chocolate made in Canada.
Charles died in 1927 at the age of 73. His wife Leah decided to sell the business and continue her community involvement by volunteering for those in need of support.
Rogers Chocolate is still privately owned by Canadian families and is locally operated. It continues to be a major contributor to the community through its involvement and support of many charities. This reflects the legacy that began many, many years ago with Leah Rogers.
The original store still stands at 913 Settlement Street. As well, there are ten other Rogers Stores in British Columbia and various other shops from across Canada that carry Rogers Chocolates.
Celebrating over one hundred and thirty years, Rogers continues to make their classic Victoria creams using Charles Roger’s original recipe. They are still wrapped in the same pink gingham and are just as delicious. The present master chocolatier is Cornell Idu, a Belgian, who with thirty years’ experience, continues to create new and innovative recipes and various seasonally inspired chocolate.
In 2016 Rogers Chocolates was determined to use Fair Trade Certified Cocoa for almost all of its chocolate. The cocoa is made using sustainable practices which help boost premiums for farmers as well as supporting various community projects and environmental initiatives. Using practices that prohibit child slavery and ensuring that workers receive a steady income, Rogers aids the individuals, the families and the community.
The portrait of Charles and Leah Rogers still hangs in the heritage shop and the large cauldron is still there. It is written in the self-guided walking map of Victoria, that Charles and Leah often slept in the kitchen and supposedly there have been some rearranged chocolate displays and other unexplained happenings that have occurred. Ghosts of chocolate past?
Here at The Shop For All Reasons, Rogers Chocolates continue to arrive from Victoria throughout the year. Customer favourites such as Victoria Creams (of course), Dark Chocolate covered Ginger (John’s favourite), Dark (54%) Chocolate and Milk (33%) Chocolate Bars, themed sleeves and Rogers’ chocolate covered nuts.
Rogers Chocolates maintains “faithful to the legacy” of Charles (Candy) and Leah Rogers. Delicious and delectable Canadian made chocolate.