With so many Americans visiting Canada in the summer, and Canada Day having just passed (Happy Birthday Canada!), here is a list of things that you can take home as souvenirs. American travelers, tourists and visitors flock to Canada in droves over the summer holidays, especially with air travel such a pain the arse these days, it is easy to just drive across the border.
This list gives you some ideas of things uniquely Canadian to take as reminders of your stay.
14. A Holt’s Bag
For the ladies – shopping bags from high end stores seem to be all the rage these days, and Holt Renfrew is Canada’s version of Saks/Neiman-Marcus/Barney’s/Bergdorf. Canadians call it simply “Holt’s”; it’s the cool way to say it. The stores are expensive, upscale and very chic ion a hoity-toity kind of way. If you want a bag from “The” place, then this is it. Maybe you can even afford to put something in it
The beavertail is a Canadian food – a snack – of fried dough with cinnamon sugar. Ok, admittedly this may be hard to take home as a souvenir, because they are best when made and eaten fresh, but they are just so good you will want to pack up a couple for re-heating when you get back home. Trust me on this one.
12. RCMP Mountie-gear
The most famous symbol of Canada has got to be the mountie. Everyone around the world knows the red-shorted policeman with the leather straps across his chest, sitting on his noble steed. This group is the original law enforcement in Canada, dating back to the original pioneer and explorer days. They have a tradition of fairness and effectiveness, and are one of the few national law enforcement agencies that are truly loved by the people of the country.
Think bout it – not too many countries can successfully market their national police. How many Russians proudly wear KGB logos on their shirts? Dont see too many Americans drinking from FBI mugs. Mounties are well-loved and make a great holiday keepsake.
11. Canadian Chocolate Bars
First thing: Canadians don’t say candy bars! Coffee Crisp, Crunchie, Aero, Big Turk, Crispy Crunch, Macintosh Toffee – can get them only in Canada. If you are into the whole chocolate bar thing, then you will appreciate the difference.
10. Miss Vickie’s Chips
The best potato chips made, and available only in Canada.
9. Butter Tarts
Not made of butter. A gooey molasses/raisin filling, so goopy, so sweet and so good! If you have never had this baked treat, the desert from thegods, then you must try one when you in Canada. Trust me, you won’t be able to stop at just one, and nobody will need to suggest to you that you pack up a few for the road. Yes, you will have to hit the gym afterwards, but it is totally worth it.
Need your butter tart fix when you are back home in the old US of A? You are in luck – there is a bakery in California that makes the real thing (not easy to do) and ships out to anywhere in the US. Here you go – don’t forget to tell them that Lists O Plenty sent ya! :-)
Three Hearts Bake Shop – Home of the Canadian butter tart, in America
8. A Toque
Pronounced “too-k”, this is the definitive Canadian winter hat. It is meant only to keep your hrad warm, and its style is in its basic, utilitarian simplicity. It is very Canadian and very cool. A simple wool pull-on hat, the type you can tuck into your purse or pocket or trunk of your car for thise days when you have to scrape the windshield and brush off the snow.
7. Canadian Bacon
Americans call it Canadian bacon; Canadians call it bacon
Actually, to be technically correct, Canadians call it back bacon or peameal bacon. It does not have the thick strips of fat that you find on the traditional American bacon. Instead, it is all meat with a tasty wrapping of cornmeal. So good! If you get to Toronto, go to the St. Lawrence Market and have a peameal bacon sandwich.
6. Aboriginal Art
Inuit art is all over stores in Canada and there is a huge variety to choose, from sculptyure to painting to jewelry. It is unique to the culture and tradition of the Inuit and Aboriginal people of Canada, with styles differeing from region to region. West coast (British Columbia) tribal art is quite different from northern or central Ontario art, and you will enjoy shopping around for your favorite piece.
5. A Loonie and a Toonie
The Canadian currency – $1 and $2 coins – look cool and make good souvenirs. Why are they called loonie and toonie? No, they are not named after a crazy person and a kids cartoon. When the $1 coin was introduced there was a contest to the public to name it. It has a picture of a loon on it – a distinctly Canadian water bird – and so the name chosen was the “Loonie”. Several years a $2 coin was introduced and the slang name at the time, “Toonie”, just stuck.
Who knows, these could turn into your lucky coins…
Canada is famous for its ice wine, which is grown from frozen grapes – go figure! Many of Canada’s ice wine makers are famous around the world in the circles who know about and judge this product.
3. Anything from Roots
Roots is like Canada’s Canadian-stuff designer and retailer. They have very well made high end casual cotton and leather clothes and accessories, and all are heavily logo-d with the Canadian maple leaf and the Roots name. Cool stuff and very Canadian.
While you can find some Canadian beers in the U.S., there are many great microbreweries. We love the apricot-flavored beer we find in Quebec. Sleeman’s is another favorite. After you’ve tried some of our best, weak dreck like Coors or Budweiser will never cross your lips again.
1. Maple Syrup
Hey, c’mon – we’re talking about Canada. The top thing on this list has got to be a maple leaf, eh? And what better way to enjoy it than with something right from the maple tree itself, natures sweet sticky goodness. If you have had real Canadian maple syrup before, then you have missed out. Have some on your pancakes or French toast when you are “in country” – you will most absolutely want to bring home a bunch!