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Canada’s National Gingerbread Competition Comes To Town With Some Sweet Offerings


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Adel Mccaslin



Welcome to the delicious world of Canada’s National Gingerbread Competition! Every year, gingerbread enthusiasts from all across the country gather together to showcase their creativity, baking skills, and love for all things gingerbread. This highly anticipated event has become a cherished tradition among Canadians, filling the air with the enticing aroma of freshly baked gingerbread and sparking joy in the hearts of both participants and spectators alike.


The National Gingerbread Competition, known for its elaborate and intricate gingerbread creations, brings together amateur and professional bakers who pour their hearts and souls into crafting stunning gingerbread houses, sculptures, and even entire gingerbread villages. The competition not only celebrates the artistry and craftsmanship behind these edible masterpieces but also fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among participants who share a passion for all things gingerbread.


Throughout its history, the National Gingerbread Competition has evolved into a beloved Canadian holiday tradition, drawing contestants and visitors from far and wide. From the snowy landscapes of Alberta to the charming streets of Quebec, gingerbread artists come together to showcase their talent and compete for recognition as the best gingerbread creator in the nation.


But the National Gingerbread Competition is not just about admiring the impressive gingerbread creations. It is a sensory experience that tantalizes taste buds and leaves visitors in awe of the artistry involved in baking and decorating these enchanting edible structures. The competition provides a platform for bakers to showcase their skills and express their imagination through gingerbread architecture, intricate icing detailing, and creative use of candy and edible decorations.


Whether you’re a seasoned gingerbread house maker or just a gingerbread enthusiast, the National Gingerbread Competition is sure to inspire and delight. So get ready to embark on a sweet journey through the wonderful world of gingerbread as we explore the history of this competition, learn about the judging process, discover highlights from this year’s competition, and even get insights from past winners. And who knows, you might just be inspired to dive into your own gingerbread adventure!


History of the National Gingerbread Competition

The National Gingerbread Competition has a rich history that dates back several decades. It all began as a small community event in a quaint Canadian town, where locals would gather to display their gingerbread creations during the holiday season. Over time, the event gained popularity and eventually expanded into a national competition, attracting participants from all corners of the country.


The idea behind the competition was to celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship involved in creating gingerbread houses. The founders wanted to provide a platform for talented bakers to showcase their skills, creativity, and passion for gingerbread. They believed that gingerbread structures were not just delightful treats, but true works of edible art.


Throughout the years, the National Gingerbread Competition grew in size and reputation. It captured the attention of not only baking enthusiasts but also the general public. The intricate details, imaginative designs, and stunning displays of gingerbread houses captivated the imagination of visitors and sparked a sense of holiday enchantment.


One of the defining moments in the competition’s history was when it gained national recognition and began attracting attention beyond the local community. Major media outlets began covering the event, bringing it to the attention of a wider audience. This increased exposure helped fuel the competition’s growth and solidify its position as a cherished Canadian tradition.


As the competition gained prestige, the quality and complexity of the gingerbread creations reached new heights. Bakers started experimenting with architectural designs, incorporating unique themes, and pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved with gingerbread. The competition became a showcase of ingenuity and innovation, with each year’s entries becoming more awe-inspiring than the last.


Today, the National Gingerbread Competition is not only a celebration of gingerbread artistry but also a testament to the enduring tradition of holiday baking and creativity in Canada. It has become a beloved event that attracts participants of all ages and backgrounds, from amateur bakers to professional pastry chefs. The competition continues to evolve, drawing inspiration from ever-changing trends in baking and design, while still honoring the time-honored traditions of gingerbread making.


Through its rich history, the National Gingerbread Competition has become a symbol of holiday magic and the joy that can be found in both baking and appreciating edible art. It is a testament to the boundless creativity of Canadians and the power of gingerbread to bring people together in celebration of the holiday season.


How Gingerbread Houses Are Judged

Judging the gingerbread houses in the National Gingerbread Competition is no small task. A panel of experienced judges, consisting of baking experts, artists, and culinary professionals, carefully evaluate each entry based on several criteria to determine the winners. Let’s take a look at how these gingerbread masterpieces are judged.


Creativity and Originality: One of the key factors judges consider is the level of creativity and originality displayed in the gingerbread house. They look for unique architectural designs, innovative use of materials and decorations, and imaginative interpretations of traditional gingerbread structures.


Construction and Technique: Judges closely examine the construction of the gingerbread house to ensure its stability and structural integrity. They look for precise and skilled technique, paying attention to the level of detail in the baking and assembly process. The overall craftsmanship, including smooth edges, neat icing piping, and seamless connections, is taken into account.


Aesthetics and Presentation: The visual impact of the gingerbread house plays a significant role in the judging process. Judges evaluate the overall appearance, balance, and visual appeal of the structure. They consider the use of color, texture, and proportion, as well as the arrangement and placement of decorative elements. Cleanliness and attention to detail in the presentation also contribute to the overall score.


Theme Interpretation: Many competitions have specific themes that participants need to incorporate into their gingerbread houses. Judges assess how effectively the theme is represented and integrated into the design. They look for creative storytelling, attention to detail, and coherence between the theme and the overall concept of the gingerbread house.


Difficulty Level: The level of difficulty involved in creating the gingerbread house is taken into account during judging. Judges assess the complexity of the design, intricacy of the decorations, and level of technical skill required to achieve the finished result. Entries that demonstrate a high level of difficulty and mastery in execution receive recognition for their exceptional craftsmanship.


Overall Impression: Finally, judges consider the overall impression that the gingerbread house leaves on them. They take into account how well the entry captures the holiday spirit, evokes emotions, and creates a sense of wonder and delight. The ability of the gingerbread house to inspire, engage, and transport the viewers into a magical world is a key aspect of the judging process.


It is important to note that judging criteria may vary slightly from competition to competition. However, the core principles of evaluating elements such as creativity, construction, aesthetics, theme interpretation, difficulty level, and overall impact remain consistent.


Judging a gingerbread house is a challenging task that requires a keen eye for detail, an appreciation for artistry, and an understanding of the technical aspects of baking and decorating. The judges’ expertise and careful consideration play a crucial role in determining the winners of the National Gingerbread Competition, ensuring that the most deserving entries are recognized for their exceptional talent and craftsmanship.


Highlights from this Year’s Competition

The latest edition of Canada’s National Gingerbread Competition was a true feast for the senses, showcasing an array of breathtaking gingerbread creations that left visitors in awe. From whimsical winter wonderlands to intricately designed edible landmarks, this year’s competition pushed the boundaries of gingerbread artistry. Let’s explore some of the captivating highlights from this year’s competition.


1. Enchanting Fairy Tale Scenes: Several participants took inspiration from classic fairy tales and brought them to life in gingerbread form. From Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread cottage nestled in a snowy forest to Cinderella’s sparkling castle, these imaginative creations transported viewers into a magical world of enchantment and wonder.


2. Holiday Classics with a Twist: Traditional holiday symbols and motifs were reimagined in unique and unexpected ways. Gingerbread houses adorned with candy cane chimneys, gumdrop windows, and sugar snow-covered roofs showcased the timeless charm of the season while adding a touch of whimsy and creativity. Some entries even incorporated Canadian icons like maple leaves, hockey sticks, and Mounties, giving the gingerbread structures a patriotic flair.


3. Exquisite Architectural Marvels: Awe-inspiring gingerbread structures replicated iconic landmarks from around the world. From the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben to the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, these edible architectural marvels showcased the incredible skill and attention to detail of the participants. The precision in recreating intricate designs using gingerbread and royal icing left attendees marveling at the craftsmanship involved.


4. Festive Family Fun: This year’s competition saw an increase in family entries, with parents teaming up with their children to create delightful gingerbread houses. The joy and excitement radiated from these creations, each one showcasing the unique contribution of the entire family. These entries not only displayed imaginative designs but also represented the joy and togetherness of the holiday season.


5. Artistic Expressions: Some participants pushed the boundaries of traditional gingerbread house designs, using their entries as a canvas for artistic expression. Intricate icing designs resembling delicate lacework, ornate patterns, and even miniature paintings adorned the gingerbread structures. These entries showcased the fusion between culinary artistry and traditional artistic techniques.


From the moment visitors entered the venue, they were greeted with a mesmerizing display of creativity and talent. The vibrant colors, meticulous detailing, and imaginative interpretations of gingerbread houses showcased the incredible talent and passion of the participants.


The competition also featured interactive elements, allowing attendees to vote for their favorite gingerbread house and even participate in gingerbread workshops where they could learn decorating techniques from experts. This engagement with the audience further enhanced the overall experience and encouraged a deeper appreciation for the art of gingerbread making.


The highlights from this year’s National Gingerbread Competition reminded everyone of the beauty and artistry that can be achieved with a simple combination of gingerbread, icing, and creativity. Each gingerbread house told a unique story, captured the spirit of the holiday season, and showcased the passion and talent of the participants.


As the competition continues to grow year after year, one thing remains constant – the ability of gingerbread to spark joy, ignite imagination, and create lasting memories during the festive season.


Interview with Past Winners

As part of our exploration into the world of Canada’s National Gingerbread Competition, we had the pleasure of speaking with some past winners to gain insights into their experiences and the secrets behind their success. These talented bakers shared their passion for gingerbread, their design inspirations, and their tips for creating award-winning gingerbread houses.


First on our list is Sarah Thompson, who won the competition two years ago with her breathtaking gingerbread replica of a famous Canadian landmark. Sarah explained that her passion for gingerbread and architecture melded perfectly in this competition. She drew inspiration from her love for her country and her desire to showcase its uniqueness. Sarah emphasized the importance of planning and attention to detail, mentioning that she spent weeks researching the architectural elements and proportions before embarking on the construction of her gingerbread masterpiece.


Next, we had the pleasure of talking to Michael and Laura Anderson, a father-daughter duo who triumphed in the family category last year. Their whimsical gingerbread creation captured the essence of a cozy winter cottage surrounded by a snow-covered landscape. They shared how their shared love for baking and the holiday season brought them closer as a family and how working together on the gingerbread house allowed them to express their creativity and bond over the joy of creating something beautiful with their own hands.


We also had the opportunity to interview Rebecca Chen, a professional pastry chef who has won multiple times in the professional category of the competition. Rebecca emphasized that experimentation and keeping up with current trends were key to her success. She explained how she introduced innovative techniques and flavors to her gingerbread houses, such as using edible paints and incorporating unusual spices into the gingerbread dough. Rebecca’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of traditional gingerbread creations has earned her accolades and admiration from both judges and fellow participants.


When asked about their tips for aspiring gingerbread house makers, all the winners shared similar advice. They stressed the importance of practicing and experimenting with different techniques and flavors throughout the year, rather than just during the competition season. They encouraged participants to draw inspiration from various sources, including nature, books, movies, and even dreams. They also emphasized the significance of persistence and patience, as creating a masterpiece with gingerbread takes time and perseverance.


Finally, when asked about what makes the National Gingerbread Competition special, all the winners emphasized the sense of community and camaraderie among participants. They highlighted the opportunity to meet and learn from other talented bakers, sharing tips and techniques, and celebrating each other’s achievements. The competition not only showcases individual talent but also brings people together who share a common love for gingerbread and a desire to create something extraordinary.


Interviewing these past winners provided valuable insights into their creative process and dedication to their craft. It is clear that the National Gingerbread Competition not only celebrates individual talent but also fosters a supportive and inspiring community. Their stories serve as a reminder of the magic that can be created with gingerbread and the joy that comes from pursuing a passion.


Tips for Baking and Decorating Gingerbread Houses

Creating a stunning gingerbread house requires not only creativity but also a solid understanding of baking and decorating techniques. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gingerbread house maker, these tips from experts and past participants of the National Gingerbread Competition will help you elevate your gingerbread house game:

  1. Choose the right gingerbread recipe: Use a sturdy gingerbread recipe that can hold the weight of your decorations and won’t sag or collapse. Avoid recipes that are too soft or crumbly.
  2. Roll your dough evenly: Roll your gingerbread dough to a consistent thickness to ensure even baking and easier assembly.
  3. Allow your gingerbread pieces to cool: After baking, let the gingerbread pieces cool completely before assembling them. This will prevent them from softening and losing their shape.
  4. Use royal icing for construction: Royal icing acts as the “glue” that holds your gingerbread house together. Make a thick batch of royal icing to ensure a strong bond and quick drying time.
  5. Decorate the gingerbread pieces individually: Decorate each gingerbread piece before assembling them into a house. This allows for more control and precision in your decorations.
  6. Get creative with toppings: Go beyond traditional candy decorations and experiment with a variety of toppings like nuts, dried fruits, shredded coconut, or even edible glitter to add texture and visual interest to your gingerbread house.
  7. Consider using templates: Using templates can help guide the construction of your gingerbread house, ensuring that all the pieces fit together seamlessly.
  8. Take your time with detailing: Use a piping bag or a small spatula to add intricate details, like icing snowflakes, window frames, or architectural elements. Patience and a steady hand are key.
  9. Add a touch of realism: Incorporate small details that mimic real-life elements, such as a pathway made of crushed cookies, a pretzel fence, or piped icing icicles, to bring your gingerbread house to life.
  10. Protect your gingerbread creation: Once your gingerbread house is complete, consider sealing it with a coat of edible varnish or a clear lacquer spray to preserve it and protect it from humidity and pests.

Remember, gingerbread house making is a fun and creative process, so don’t be afraid to experiment and let your imagination run wild. Whether you’re aiming for a classic design or pushing the boundaries of gingerbread artistry, these tips will help you create a gingerbread masterpiece that will wow friends, family, and maybe even the judges in the National Gingerbread Competition.


Gingerbread Workshops and Events

Immerse yourself in the delicious world of gingerbread by participating in various workshops and events dedicated to this beloved holiday tradition. Throughout Canada, you’ll find a range of opportunities to learn, create, and celebrate gingerbread. Whether you’re a beginner looking to hone your skills or a seasoned gingerbread enthusiast, these workshops and events offer something for everyone.


1. Gingerbread House Decorating Workshops: Many bakeries, culinary schools, and community centers offer hands-on workshops where participants can learn the art of gingerbread house decorating. Expert instructors guide attendees through the process of assembling and decorating their own gingerbread houses, providing tips and tricks along the way. These workshops are a fantastic way to gain confidence in your gingerbread skills and enjoy a creative and tasty experience.


2. Gingerbread House Competitions: Participating in a gingerbread house competition is a thrilling and rewarding experience. These events bring together passionate gingerbread enthusiasts of all levels to compete for recognition and prizes. Not only do these competitions showcase the incredible skill and creativity of the participants, but they also provide an opportunity to connect with fellow gingerbread lovers and share in the excitement of the craft. Joining a competition is a chance to challenge yourself, learn from others, and be inspired by the incredible gingerbread creations on display.


3. Gingerbread Festivals: Across Canada, gingerbread festivals are a festive celebration of all things gingerbread. These events typically feature a wide range of activities, including gingerbread decorating stations, gingerbread house displays, live gingerbread house-making demonstrations, and even gingerbread recipe competitions. Gingerbread festivals are a great way to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, enjoy tasty treats, and witness the incredible creativity of local bakers.


4. Gingerbread Decorating Classes: Many baking supply stores and culinary schools offer gingerbread decorating classes where participants can learn advanced techniques and create stunning gingerbread masterpieces. In these classes, you may explore intricate piping designs, learn how to create realistic textures and patterns, and experiment with different icing techniques. These classes are ideal for those who want to take their gingerbread decorating skills to the next level and unleash their inner pastry artist.


5. Gingerbread House Tours: Some cities and towns organize gingerbread house tours where participants can explore a variety of gingerbread creations displayed throughout the community. These tours provide inspiration and allow you to appreciate the diverse styles and designs of gingerbread houses while supporting local businesses and organizations that participate in the event. It’s a delightful way to experience the magic of gingerbread and witness the incredible creativity of your fellow community members.


Attending gingerbread workshops and events not only allows you to expand your skills and knowledge of gingerbread making but also creates opportunities to connect with other like-minded individuals who share the same passion. It’s a chance to learn, collaborate, and celebrate the joy of gingerbread together. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gingerbread expert, be sure to seek out these workshops and events to enhance your understanding and appreciation of this delicious and artistic holiday tradition.



The National Gingerbread Competition in Canada is a magical celebration of creativity, artistry, and the joy of baking. Each year, gingerbread enthusiasts from all walks of life come together to showcase their incredible talent and share in the delight of this beloved tradition. From whimsical fairy tale scenes to meticulously recreated architectural marvels, the gingerbread creations in this competition transport us into a world of edible wonder.


Through our exploration of the National Gingerbread Competition, we’ve journeyed through its rich history, learned about the meticulous judging process, marveled at the highlights from past competitions, and gained insights from talented past winners. We’ve also discovered valuable tips for baking and decorating gingerbread houses, as well as a variety of workshops and events to further inspire our gingerbread adventures.


The National Gingerbread Competition is more than just a showcase of baking skills and artistic flair; it’s a celebration of community, tradition, and the magic of the holiday season. It brings people together, fosters creativity, and ignites a sense of wonder and joy that can only be found in the world of gingerbread.


So whether you’re eager to compete, attend a workshop, or simply appreciate the beauty and artistry of gingerbread houses, embrace the enchanting world of Canada’s National Gingerbread Competition. Allow yourself to be inspired, create memories, and savor the sweet satisfaction of bringing gingerbread dreams to life.


Let the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread and the joy of artistic expression fill your heart as you embark on your own gingerbread adventures. Whether it’s a cozy cottage, a grand castle, or a whimsical village, let your imagination run wild and your creativity flow as you embrace the magic of gingerbread. And who knows, your own gingerbread masterpiece may one day be the star of the National Gingerbread Competition!