So you’ve been on holiday and seen the incredible sights Canada has to offer. But how do you bring a little taste of Canada home with you?
Thankfully, whether it’s something for yourself or a gift to bring back for your family and friends, there are lots of quintessentially Canadian options that you can buy during a holiday in Canada.
Here are some traditional and awesome Canadian gifts you shouldn’t board the plane without.
Maple syrup is synonymous with Canada and is the perfect gift for a foodie. This pure, entirely natural product has stood the test of time without losing an ounce of its natural charm, and is now exported to over 50 countries around the world.
A great place to buy maple syrup is from Drip Maple, a small, maple-obsessed company in Toronto.
Drip Maple Syrup offers customers 100% pure Canadian maple syrup that has been harvested from a single forest in Northern Ontario. The maple syrup is unblended and Drip Maple comes in three forms; blonde, copper and amber.
– Blonde – Early season sap is used to rear this fine syrup and the iconic maple flavour is combined with warm vanilla that provides a chorus of classic, complimentary flavours. This syrup can be used on virtually anything.
– Copper – Things get more maple-serious with Drip Copper, and for non-committal syrup enthusiasts this is likely to be the best choice for you. Balancing a full-bodied maple package with caramel decadence, it is perfect for desserts, salads and pancakes.
– Amber – Not for the faint hearted, this smoky maple flavour offers diners a “long, robust and powerful note that dances across the palate with complexity”. This syrup is ideal for glazing Belgian waffles.
Canadian Ice Wine
Called Canada’s “liquid gold”, Canadian ice wine is famed around the world. The drink has won international awards and has put the spotlight on winemaking in Canada.
Ice wine is perfect as a dessert wine thanks to its intense flavours, rich taste and unsurpassed smoothness. Like normal wine, ice wine is produced from grapes, but the grapes have been left on the vine after the fall harvest and once the temperatures dips to -8ºC (or lower), the frozen grapes are then handpicked and pressed.
Some of the best Canadian ice wine comes from Ontario and now around 60 different wineries in the province produce the wine. There are three VQA wine appellations – Niagara Peninsula, Prince Edward County and Lake Erie North Shore.
The history behind ice wine is fascinating, with it being accidentally discovered in Germany in 1794 by farmers trying to save their grape harvest from a sudden frost.
The wine’s sweet, nectar-like quality means it will be a universal hit whether the recipient is a wine connoisseur or not. If you are looking for a brand to pick, then Cave Spring is a great choice.
Cave Spring is located in the beautiful southern part of Ontario in the Niagara Peninsula and produces a stunning 2013 Riesling ice wine.
This wine originates from Riesling grapes grown along the slopes of the Niagara Escarpment and the south shore of Lake Ontario. The grapes are selectively hand-harvested and pressed at temperatures below -10ºC (14ºF) to produce sweet nectar with impeccable acid balance.
Golden in colour, the 2013 Riesling ice wine has a subtle but complex nose of sultana raisins, lemon zest, comb honey, poached pear and spiced apple.
Canadian Smoked Salmon
National tourism agency Destination Canada says that buying some Canadian smoked salmon is a great idea for a gift.
The country is famous for its plentiful salmon population and it’s not just the bears who appreciate the delicacy!
At Sea Change Seafoods you can buy smoked sockeye salmon in a cedar box for just $37.00 CAD. Smoked sockeye salmon is well-known for its rich flavour and bright red colour which is a world away from the salmon we eat at home. You can take this salmon back to the UK as it is packed in a gold foil pouch which has been heat processed and keeps without refrigeration until it is opened.
For just $9.99 CAD you can get your hands on some scrumptious Natural Wild Salmon Jerky. This is perfect for a snack at a picnic or whilst doing some outdoor adventures. In Canada, it is often served with beer or salty cheese and olives, but it is also a fun gift to bring home to a friend or family member.
If you are an art enthusiast, then there are lots of examples of Aboriginal art you can purchase for yourself.
The history of indigenous (Aboriginal) art in Canada dates back to the last Ice Age between 80,000 and 12,000 years ago, although the oldest surviving artworks are dateable to around 5,000 years ago.
Although buying the original Aboriginal art might be out of your price range (unless you have a million or so to spare) then there are lots of copies you can purchase. There are also plenty of First Nations Canadians producing new art inspired by their heritage.
The Museum of Anthropology has an outstanding collection of Aboriginal art and in its shops there are lots of copies for sale that would be perfect for a present.
Canada’s cold winter weather comes with plenty of perks: husky rides and Northern Lights, snowshoeing and ice skating, and the finest woollens to snuggle into.
When it comes to wool blankets, outdoor clothing firm Woolrich is a great place to pick up a real quality item.
Woolrich has stores across Canada, including in Vancouver, and their Hudson’s Bay 8-Point Wool Blanket is a very popular keepsake. These historic blankets may be imported from England, but they have been used in Canada since 1779 and were once used as a form of currency between trappers and Native Americans.
The 8-Point Hudson Bay wool blanket can fit a standard king-size bed and you can just imagine that it would look lovely to snuggle into at home.
Canadian sports gear
In a country that celebrates its ice hockey, football and baseball almost as much as its scenery, it’s not surprising sports jerseys are one of the most popular souvenirs.
If you are a sports enthusiast or have a family or friend that is sports mad, then buying some Toronto Blue Jays or Toronto Raptors merchandise is a great idea.
The Toronto Blue Jays are a professional baseball team that compete in the Major League Baseball American League East Division. A Blue Jays jersey or a baseball would make a fantastic present.
The Toronto Raptors are a hugely famous basketball team that compete in the NBA. If you can catch a game you won’t be disappointed, and to remember your experience some Toronto Raptors gear such as mugs or a Raptors shirt would make a fantastic keepsake.
A calendar of Canada
Canada is known for its great outdoors and one way to bring back your favourite view is to buy a calendar.
The Calendar Club of Canada, which has stores all over the country, including in Edmonton and Ottawa, has a wide range of wall and desk calendars that you can purchase to remind yourself of Canada’s natural beauty. Here we take you through some of our favourites that really showcase Canada’s stunning scenery.
This mini calendar from Canadian Geographic boasts spectacular images that capture the diversity of the country by showcasing an image from each province or territory.
This beautifully photographed 16-month 8.5 x 8.5 calendar costs just $13.99 CAD.
If you read our Wildlife in Canada: 11 animals you could meet article, then you will have soon realised that Canada’s wilderness is vast and spectacular.
This compact calendar from the Calendar Club of Canada has a sturdy fold out stand, making it perfect on a desk or countertop. What’s more, because the calendar months are separate from the pictures, you can choose the picture that accompanies the month and stick with your favourite.
The 12-month 7.5 x 6 desk calendar, which costs $11.99 CAD, features easy-to-read months, weekdays and numerals as well as major holidays.