Five things to know about St-Viateur bagel, one of Montreal’s most famous bagel shops that marked its 60th anniversary Sunday:
– St-Viateur was founded by Myer Lewkowicz, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. In 1942 he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, according to the store’s website. He arrived in Canada in 1953 and founded the store four years later.
– Since the store opened in 1957, the bagel-making process hasn’t changed. According to current owner Joe Morena, each bagel is hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, dipped in seeds and baked on a long wooden plank in a wood-burning oven.
– The flagship store makes 30 dozen bagels an hour, and is open 24 hours a day. The company also has seven other locations in the Montreal area.
– St-Viateur ships bagels all over North America. Sesame and poppyseed are the most popular online bagel orders.
– While its believed bagels were brought to Montreal by Jewish immigrants in the early 1900s, there are differing stories of who first introduced them to the city. One story contends an immigrant named Hyman Seligman brought the recipe from Czarist Russia (now Latvia). Another story states a Ukrainian immigrant from Kiev was the first to import the tradition.