Another culinary contribution from French Canada, tourtière is a meat pie traditionally made around the Christmas holiday season, although many enjoy it year round. Like the butter tart, the recipe for tourtière varies from family to family and even during each preparation – depending on the available ingredients. Tourtière is older than both the butter tart and Nanaimo bar.
According to one tourtière website: “There is some debate about the origin of the name of the dish. Some believe that the dish is named after the now extinct passenger pigeons, called “tourtes,” that were cooked into the original pies. Others argue that the pie is named after the deep ceramic baking dish that families used to create the pies. It is, however, agreed that by 1611, the word tourtière had come to refer to the pastry containing meat or fish that was cooked in this medium-deep, round or rectangular dish.”