Traffic on Main Street in Maxville came to a halt Saturday at noon, as a pipe and drum band performed on the sidewalk in front of Muir’s Bakery. The band, primarily made up of members of the Black Watch Regimental Pipe Band from Montreal, good-naturedly referred to themselves as the “Muir’s Bakery Band” for the occasion.
Crowds gathering to help Muir’s Bakery celebrate its 90th anniversary filled the street to watch the band play, accompanied by Highland dancer Elise Quinn of Montreal.
Inside the bakery, customers patiently lined up to place or pick up orders, while staff threaded their way through the crowds balancing plates of steaming food to waiting diners. Every seat was taken as diners tucked into a special lunch plate, which included a succulent slice of steak pie partnered with gravy, haggis, mashed potatoes, and more.
A steady parade of customers, laden with boxes and bags containing warm-from-the-oven pies, buttery scones, and the seasonal favourite hot-cross buns, left the bakery after enjoying their lunch. Many customers had dressed in tartan to mark the occasion.
Muir’s Bakery is such an institution in North Glengarry, it’s easy to forget it hasn’t been on Maxville’s Main Street for all of its 90 years. Muir’s had its start in Montreal in 1929, and moved to Maxville only 23 years ago.
Cheryl Latimer, whose grandfather started Muir’s 90 years ago, is the third generation of the Muir family to operate the popular bakery. The Muir family tradition continues with members of the fourth generation also working at the bakery.
Muir’s Montreal connection is still strong. Some customers who used to go to Muir’s in Montreal many years ago now make the drive to Maxville to load up on their favourite Scottish-style baked goods, Latimer says.
“We have regular customers from Montreal, Brockville, Kingston, Ottawa, and Upper New York State,” says Latimer, demonstrating the bakery’s wide appeal.
Muir’s boasts an extensive menu of sweet and savoury baked goods, including fresh-baked meat pies, sausage rolls, haggis, empire biscuits, and cinnamon buns. Muir’s also makes steak pie, tortiere, black pudding, and the quintessential Scottish dish, haggis, as well as a variety of dessert cakes and pies.
Latimer credits their traditional baking methods for the bakery’s enduring popularity, although some production methods have changed to keep up with the times. Latimer says the bakery is still using the machine her grandfather used to make the crusts for Muir’s popular meat pies. The only difference, Latimer says, is that the machine is now wired for electricity.
Asked if there were plans underway for Muir’s 100th anniversary in ten years Latimer replied, “Yes, and it’s going to be even bigger.”