‘Beyond what we expected’: Over 6K fresh Montreal bagels delivered to Edmonton for Jewish youth fundraiser

Fairmount Bagel in Montreal. Facebook / Fairmount Bagel

Over 6,000 freshly baked Montreal bagels arrived in Edmonton Wednesday morning after two women from Alberta’s capital decided to sell them as part of a fundraiser for Jewish youth.

Tamara Vineberg and Stacey Leavitt-Wright are both parents with children in the Edmonton chapter of the B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO), which runs programs meant to teach Jewish youth leadership and community skills.

The BBYO fundraiser pre-sold over 500 dozen Fairmount Bagels to Edmontonians — meaning that Wednesday morning, FedEx express delivered a massive amount directly to Leavitt-Wright’s home.

“It’s quite a delight. I have to keep my dogs out of the garage,” Leavitt-Wright said. “They are delicious. They’re boiled in a sweetened water and then baked in a wood oven… They have that wood oven fire taste.

“These bagels were shipped to us fresh overnight, so they haven’t been frozen yet, which is lovely.”

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These bagels were shipped fresh from the wood-fired stove in Montreal to Edmonton Wednesday morning. Courtesy / Stacey Leavitt-Wright

This week was chosen as the delivery time because it coincides with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, on Friday.

“For a lot of people who would normally have larger gatherings, more traditional meals, they’re not going to be able to do that this year,” Leavitt-Wright said. “So this gives them something to look forward to.”

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Along with the bagels, the group also sold local honey from Naked Canuck and smoked salmon from Sgambaro’s Signature Seafoods, both of which are Edmonton-based.

“As much as we love the Montreal bagels, we also tried to support some local producers as well,” Leavitt-Wright said.

The fundraiser brought in between $3,000 and $4,000 for the BBYO, said Vineberg, and part of the money raised from the sales will go towards buying food donations for Jewish Family Services in Edmonton.

“Jewish Family Services are organizing some Rosh Hashanah baskets, and [the BBYO] decided to donate some honey to those baskets from the proceeds of the fundraiser,” Vineberg said.

Vineberg and Leavitt-Wright, who are both ex-Montrealers, said they decided to launch the bagel fundraiser after there was huge interest from friends when Vineberg made a personal bagel order earlier this year.

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“I’m a former Montrealer, so I grew up eating them. So it’s the nostalgia of it,” Vineberg said.

“We got about 108 dozen bagels shipped from Montreal in June to my house, and then Stacy saw my social media around that and she reached out… she said, ‘Do you want to do a fundraiser with the bagels for BBYO?'”

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The bagels will be picked up by Edmontonians who ordered them on Wednesday evening in drive-thru style, with the BBYO members handing them out with COVID-19 protection measures. Leavitt-Wright said that the community aspect of the fundraiser has helped bring people together amid the pandemic.

“It’s not just that it’s been successful for the kids and for the group, but it’s also just been a really nice, feel-good thing out there,” Leavitt-Wright said.

“People are happy to be part of it. People are almost giddy. It’s been a nice distraction.”

Vineberg added that while this order has already sold out, she hopes to run another fundraiser soon after the huge support this one saw.

“It’s great to see how many people love Montreal bagels in Edmonton, and it might be a good idea for someone to open a Montreal bagel bakery here.”

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Read more: Montreal’s family-run Fairmount Bagel celebrates a century in business

Fairmount Bagel has sold its baked goods in Montreal for over 100 years and still uses the original family recipe launched in 1919.

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Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagel are the two most well-known shops in Montreal for the world-famous, wood-fired bagels. Which one is better? That’s a debate that has lasted as long as the two shops.

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