Travel

  •  Accomodation
•  Climate
•  Contact
•  Entry
•  Food
•  Geography
•  Health
•  Safety
•  Shopping
•  Transport
•  Working
•  Travel Tweets



Virtual Canada Photo Library
License our photos for commercial use. Learn more.

Canada Vacations - Order FREE Travel Brochure!

Food

There aren't many dishes or meals that are considered Canadian. There are a number of deserts or pastries that are uniqely Canadian such as nanaimo bars, buttertarts, and beaver tails. Essentially Canadian culinary art is nearly identical to the northern United States. However, there is a trend among Canadian restaurants to offer local ingredients and cuisine. This can include meat dishes with caribou, moose, venison, and grouse.

French Canada (Quebec) is however distinctive. Specialty dishes include: tourtière (a kind of meat pie), cipaille (meat and vegetable pie), cretons (mince of pork drippings), ragoût de pattes (pigs' feet stew), plorine (pork pie), oreilles de Christ (fried larding bacon), poutine (French fries with cheese and gravy), croquignoles (home-made doughnuts cooked in shortening), tarte à la farlouche (pie made of raisins, flour and molasses), tarte au sucre (sugar pie), and numerous cheeses and maple syrup products. Staples include baked beans, peas and ham. French-Canadian cuisine also incorporates elements of the cuisines of English-speaking North America, and, unsurprisingly, France.

One peculiar tradition that you may notice in nearly every small town is the Chinese-Canadian restaurant. A lot of the reason for this is the role Chinese immigration played historically in the early settlement of Canada, particularly in the building of the railroad. These establishments sell the usual Chinese cuisine marketed towards North American Fast Food customers. In Toronto and Vancouver, two large centres of Chinese immigration, one can find authentic Chinese cuisine that rivals that of Hong Kong and Shanghai. In Toronto, head to Markham.

Montreal is well known for its Central and Eastern European Jewish specialties, including local varieties of bagels and smoked meat. In the prairie provinces you can find great Ukrainian food, such as perogies, due to large amounts of Ukrainian immigrants.

If you are more adventurous, in the larger cities especially, you will find a great variety of ethnic tastes from all over Europe, Asia and elsewhere. You can find just about any taste and style of food in Canada, from a 20oz. T-Bone with all the trimmings to Japanese sushi (indeed, much of the salmon used in sushi in Japan comes from Canada). Consult local travel brochures upon arrival. They can be found at almost any hotel and are free at any provincial or municipal tourist information centre.

Americans will find many of their types of cuisine and brands with subtle differences, and many products unique to Canada, such as brands of chocolate bars and the availability of authentic maple syrup.

Drink

The drinking age in Canada varies from province to province. In Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec the age is 18, while in the rest of the provinces and territories it is 19. A peculiarity of many Canadian Provinces (a holdover from Prohibition) is that liquor and beer can only be sold in licensed stores and this usually excludes supermarkets. In Ontario alcoholic beverages can only be sold in licensed restaurants and bars and "Liquor Control Board" (LCBO) stores that are run by the Province. Supermarkets in other Provinces generally have their own liquor store nearby. Québec has the least restrictions on the sale of alcohol, and one can usually find alcohol even at gas stations (depanneur).

Canadian adults enjoy beer and other alcoholic beverages quite often. Watching sports, especially the sport of hockey, is a popular time to consume these type of drinks. A favourite and uniquely Canadian cocktail is the Caesar (Vodka, Clamato juice, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce).
Beer

Canadian mass-market beers (e.g., Molson's, Labatt's) are generally a pale gold lager, with an alcohol of 5% to 6%. This alcohol level may be higher than popular beers in the US or Great Britain, so it pays to be careful if you're a visitor. Like most mass-market beers, they are not very distinctive, however, the Canadians beer drinkers have been known to support local brewers. In recent years, there's been a major increase in the number and the quality of beers from micro-breweries. Although many of these beers are only available near where they are produced, it behooves you to ask at mid-scale to top-end bars for some of the local choices: they will be fresh, often non-pasteurized, and have a much wider range of styles and flavors than you would expect by looking at the mass-market product lines. Many major cities have one or more brew pubs, which brew and serve their own beers, often with a full kitchen backing the bar. These spots offer a great chance to sample different beers and to enjoy food selected to complement the beers.
Wine

Ice wine, a (very) sweet dessert wine made from frozen grapes is a Canadian specialty, with Inniskillin in particular found at airport duty-free stores around the world. However, due to the tiny yields (5-10% compared to normal wine) it's relatively expensive, with half-bottles (375 ml) starting at $50.
Distilled spirits

Canada is famous in other countries for its distinctive rye whiskey, a beverage too common locally to be much appreciated by Canadians. In addition to the plentiful selection of inexpensive blended ryes, you may find it worth exploring the premium blended and unblended ryes available at most liquor stores. One of the most-recognized unblended ryes is Alberta Premium, which has been recognized as the "Canadian Whiskey of the Year" by famed whiskey writer Jim Murray.

Canada also makes a small number of distinctive liqueurs. One of the most well-known, and a fine beverage for winter drinking, is Yukon Jack, a whiskey-based liqueur with citrus overtones. It's the Canadian equivalent of the USA's Southern Comfort, which has a similar flavor but is based on corn whiskey (bourbon) rather than rye.
Other beverages

You can find most nonalcoholic beverages you would find in any other country. Carbonated beverages (referred to as "pop", "soda" and "soft drinks" in different regions) are very popular. Clean, safe drinking water is available from the tap in all cities and towns across Canada. Bottled water is widely sold, but it is no better in quality than tap water, so you'll save a lot of money by buying a reusable water bottle and filling it up from the tap.

A non-alcoholic drink one might drink in Canada is coffee. Tim Horton's is the most ubiquitous and popular coffee shop in the country. Starbucks is massively popular in Vancouver and becoming more so in other large centres such as Calgary (where it is larger than Tim Hortons), and Toronto. There is a Starbucks in most every city, along with local coffeeshops and national chains such as Second Cup.

 

.

  

  • Do you have a question.
  • What do you think about this page.
  • Please leave a comment below.



This web site, logo, name, content, photos, and design are protected by international copyright law.
Original versions of our photos can be purchased & web versions can be shared subject to conditions.