The History of McIntosh Apples

Province of Canada - Made in Canada - History of McIntosh Apples

The first McIntosh apple was discovered in Province of Canada. But actually. Canadian John McIntosh found the first McIntosh apple seeds while clearing overgrown trees on his Dundas, Ontario farm circa 1811 (in 1811, Ontario was known as Upper Canada, one of the two colonies that formed the United Province of Canada, which was later condensed to 'Canada').

John gathered the seeds, planted them next to his house, and unknowingly grew the first ever McIntosh apple tree. His family learned how to graft and breed the species at home before eventually selling them locally. Decades later, they went into commercial production and became a produce staple in North American grocery stores, making up 40% of the Canadian apple market.

Since this discovery, the McIntosh apple was designated the national apple of Canada and became commonly known as the all-purpose apple; perfect when eaten cooked or raw. The original tree bore fruit for almost a full century and was eventually marked with a commemorative plaque. Come 2001, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada would place another plaque alongside a painted mural of McIntosh apples in a neighbouring park.

Aside from cultivating this apple species, perhaps the most significant thing the McIntosh family gave the world was their (now) iconic name. Apple Inc. employee Jef Raskin decided to name the first line of personal computers 'McIntosh' after his favourite fruit. They ultimately had to settle for a different spelling of the word when McIntosh Laboratory denied Steve Jobs rights to the proper name. Thus, Macintosh was born.

Who knew that Apple Inc.'s success would trace back to a little Canadian farm circa 1811? The legacy of Canada's national apple started with a humble family of farmers and is now closely tied to an iconic family of computers.

McIntosh Apple Pie Recipe

This time last year, we came across Canada's greatest kept Fall secret: Carl Laidlaw Orchards. Read our post about their whimsical apple picking farm, or follow below for their all-Canadian apple pie recipe.

Province of Canada - Made in Canada - Carl Laidlaw Orchards Apple Pie


2 disks pie crust dough

7 medium McIntosh apples

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp cold butter cut into small pieces


Preheat oven to 450°f. Place a cookie sheet in the middle of the oven.

Roll out one disk of dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness and transfer to a nine-inch pie plate (without the paper). Tuck it in the fridge. Roll out the second disk to the same thickness, forming a circle. Tuck it in the fridge, too.

Peel, core, and slice the apples.

Toss the apples with lemon juice, sugar, spices, and flour, then pour mixture into the pie shell. Place small pieces of cold butter over apples.

Top the apple slices with remaining pastry. Trim and crimp the edges together. Cut a few slices in the top to let the steam escape. Brush top pastry with melted butter.

Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°f and bake for another 40-50 minutes. The pastry will be golden brown. Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing it. 

Serve with ice cream or a slice of old cheddar cheese.

Province of Canada - Made in Canada - History of McIntosh Apples

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"It doesn't have to look Canadian to be Canadian."

Julie Brown