Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet Recipes

A Curious Flapjack

Don’t be fooled by the name! This is a sweet and delicious square, not a pancake.

A Curious Flapjack

Origin: Banff Park Museum National Historic Site
Region: West (Alberta)
Period: 20th Century - present
Course: Desserts and Baked Goods

Norman Sanson at the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station Photo of Norman Sanson at the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station
© Parks Canada

Norman B. Sanson was the Curator of the Banff Park Museum from 1896 to 1932. An avid collector of flora and fauna, Sanson was eager to make the museum a ‘university of the hills’ for all to enjoy. He travelled through Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks in search of new species to display, logging more than 20,000 kilometres on mountain trails. Sanson’s more curious and unique discoveries are displayed in the “Cabinets of Curiosity” exhibit, and the “Curious Flapjack” recipe is named in honour of this section of the museum. Although there is no direct connection between this recipe and Sanson, by the end of the 1880’s oatmeal was a traditional food of the early alpine explorers in the Banff area. The flapjack is a durable, packable, oatmeal-based sweet biscuit that would have been handy for long hiking treks.

A Curious Flapjack


  • 4 oz | 115 g butter or margarine
  • 4 oz | 115 g light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp | 30 ml golden syrup
  • 8 oz | 225 g porridge oats
  • 2 oz | 60 g shredded coconut
  • ½ tsp | 2.5 ml ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt


  • Place the butter or margarine, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter and sugar have melted. Add the oats, salt, coconut and ginger; blend thoroughly.
  • Press into a well-greased 9-inch pan. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Score into slices while still warm. Cool completely before removing from pan. Enjoy squares while hiking or on outdoor picnics!


Recipe tested by Chef Mario Ramsay, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

This recipe was submitted by Parks Canada staff at the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.

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