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Where to eat and drink in Canada
48 long, hot summer hours in Whitehorse
If you’re thinking of heading off on that grand Yukon road trip straight after you land in Whitehorse, Steve Madgwick has one word of advice for you: don’t.
Forget moose, you’re in Sasquatch country on Canada’s most surprising road trip
Rattlesnakes, great wines, and a desert? Discover what’s at the end of an ear-popping drive into the mountains from Vancouver to the Okanagan Valley on Canada's most surprising road trip. By Nikki Bayley
Feel the rhythm at Montréal’s International Jazz Festival
Become a hep cat at one of the world's greatest music festivals. Here’s what you need out of a vacation: meet new people, experience new things and create unforgettable memories. Montréal’s International Jazz Festival could be just the ticket you’ve been looking for. Spread out over 10 music-filled days each June to July, 3000-plus musicians from unknown up-and-comers to veteran virtuosos take to the stage for almost 650 concerts – most of them free. [caption id="attachment_20815" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Music fans enjoying the Montreal Jazz Festival[/caption] More than 2.5 million head-bobbing, finger-clicking fans swarm here each year, and in 2006 the mega-jazz festival scored a Guinness World gong for the world’s largest. You don't even need to be a super knowledgeable jazz fan to have a great time here: just head to a gig and absorb the vibe. Loyal buffs soak up the sonic bliss of the classic genre and the uninitiated get to sample a different world of music while rubbing shoulders with a brand new crowd. You dig? [caption id="attachment_20816" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Revellers at the Montreal Jazz Festival.[/caption] GET GOING: Dust off your dancing shoes and book your tickets for the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Find out more: [www.montrealjazzfest.com]. LOCATION: While the Jazz Festival is officially hosted in the heart of Quartier des Spectacles in the eastern portion of downtown Montréal, huge swathes of the city are given over to the event, from concert halls to open streets, cafés, bars and more. Just get to Montréal and follow the tunes … [caption id="attachment_20818" align="alignnone" width="1024"] And overflowing crowd at the Montreal Jazz Festival.[/caption] “A must for music fans. The sheer number of concerts and variety of music during this 10-day festival is staggering.” – Rob McFarland << Previous | Next >> Return to the ‘100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die’ countdown var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');
If you think you’re a foodie, it’s time to taste Vancouver Island
Lisa Perkovic heads to Vancouver Island and discovers how this once-sleepy region awoke to become the domain of small-scale producers that have let their taste buds run wild.
Go wild at the luxurious Sonora Resort in the Discovery Islands
Stay in the lap of luxury in the middle of the British Colombia wilderness.
Go from beach to brewery in BC hipster haven, Nelson
What do you get when a Canadian alpine sports hub develops a penchant for inner-city indulgences and bohemian flair? Nelson — the mini hipsterville in British Columbia’s breathtaking Kootenay Country. Writes Alissa Jenkins.
More than beaches and peaches, Penticton has Millennial appeal
A laidback lifestyle combined with a bounty of local produce is putting retirement hub Penticton, British Columbia, in the sights of a younger market, finds Alissa Jenkins.
A southern sojourn along Canada’s Route 66
It truly is about the journey, not the destination, as Alissa Jenkins travels the forgotten southern route from Vancouver to Calgary. ***This article was created in conjunction with our sponsors Undiscovered Canada*** Before the record-breaking Trans-Canada Highway opened in 1962, streamlining the route from British Columbia’s west coast to Newfoundland’s east coast, interprovince road trips were as much about the journey through country towns and roadside attractions as the destinations at either end. In Western Canada, long before dual-carriage expressways and electronic tolls, it was the winding Crowsnest Highway (otherwise known as Highway 3) that was favoured by road trippers between Vancouver and Calgary. South of its successor and flirting with the US border, the Crowsnest promises a feature film worth of scene changes from the car window, carving though British Columbia’s (BC) coastal mountains, leafy crops and smelting towns frozen in time, and across the Alberta border to snow-capped Rockies and golden prairies, interpsersed with reasons to pull the car over. Likened to America’s Route 66, it’s a drive across provinces but back in time, to places and pitstops long overshadowed by newer, more time-efficient routes. While Highway 3 now slips under the radar of most time-poor travellers, the ‘50s charms and kitschy roadside delights that entertained road trippers from generations past remain. And, as I find on my first sojourn across BC off the Trans-Canada, they’re worth the detour. The fruit-stand capital of Canada Three hundred and fifty kilometres east of Vancouver, on the southwestern fringes of the Okanagan Valley, is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Keremeos. But it’s not the tiny town’s soft rolling hills, Similkameen River or heritage grist mill that will sway your attention. It’s the stream of roadside fruit markets, many fronting the orchards that supply them, earning Keremeos the title of “fruit stand capital of Canada”. We’re not talking a couple polystyrene boxes and an underfed honesty jar. These generous markets stalls, some the size of a house, are as sweet as the juicy fare they stock. Like something plucked straight from the 1950s, each is laced with retro signage above a rainbow of fruit crates, filled with peaches, apples, cherries, plums, and whatever fruit and veg is in season. Inside dozens of these Mom-and-Pop shops (one is literally named Mom & Pop’s Farm Market), you’ll also find tables carefully stacked with homemade jams and handmade lavender sachets, like a walk-in Mother’s Day hamper. Almost as impressive as the freshly picked bounty, sure to dribble down your chin, are the prices. At barely a dollar a pound in most cases, this is the antithesis of highway robbery. Consider your road-trip snacks sorted. Berry tasty pitstop [caption id="attachment_36012" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Reward your driving efforts with an old-fashioned sugary treat from landmark ice cream parlour, Tickleberrys (between Penticton and Osoyoos). Promising pastel cartoon murals, neon lit signs, and jumbo scoops that can be stacked as many as seven high, this ice creamery is a step back into childhood nostalgia. There are more than 70 flavours to choose from, each of which is made with fresh ingredients to ensure a velvety texture and taste to remember.[/caption] Reward your driving efforts (or perhaps some well-behaved travel companions in the backseat) with an old-fashioned sugary treat from landmark ice-cream parlour, Tickleberry’s. Just south of Okanagan Falls (between Penticton and Osoyoos), this local favourite requires a half-hour detour off the Crowsnest onto Highway 97, but is worth it. Be warned though, this is no ho-hum summer snack. With pastel cartoon murals, neon lit signs, and jumbo scoops that can be stacked as many as seven high, this ice creamery is a step back in time. There are more than 70 flavours to choose from — Lemon Poppyseed, Black Cherry, Fifty Shades of Earl Grey, and Peanut Butter Binge to name a few — each of which is made with fresh ingredients to ensure a velvety texture and taste to remember. If you’d rather not put your lactose tolerance to such a test, peruse the in-house fudge factory, homemade chocolate-covered dried fruits, as well as the extensive range of local crafts and gifts. [caption id="attachment_36013" align="alignnone" width="1500"] After a game of mini golf at Rattlesnake Canyon, a western-inspired amusement park in Osoyoos, trade kitsch for culture at the award-winning Nk’Mip Desert and Cultural Centre. Owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band, this indoor and outdoor exhibit is a hands-on way to learn about the local First Nations culture.[/caption] Get into the swing Nothing says retro road trip quite like a roadside game of putt putt golf. Such is the case at Rattlesnake Canyon, a Western-inspired amusement park in Osoyoos, the heart of BC’s desert wine country. A great place for tiny travellers to burn off energy before your next stint along the Crowsnest, the park features an 18-hole mini golf course, a go-kart track (said to be the best in the Okanagan), a rock-climbing wall, and an arcade among its kid-friendly entertainment. And in case you missed Tickleberry’s, there’s also an ice-cream parlour housed in an authentic windmill. While you’re in town, trade kitsch for culture at the award-winning Nk’Mip Desert and Cultural Centre. Owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band, this indoor and outdoor exhibit is a hands-on way to learn about the local First Nations culture. Stop, revive, soak Continuing east, on the western banks of Kootenay Lake is the oldest surviving community on the waterfront, Ainsworth. With a dwindling population of 50, what the area lacks in residents it makes up for in panoramic views of the deep, fjord-like lake and the surrounding mountain ranges. However picturesque, if the water temperature proves too chilly for a dip, there’s always the Ainsworth Hot Springs. [caption id="attachment_36014" align="alignnone" width="733"] Long before official mineral analysis, the First Nations Ktunaxa (pronounced K-too-nah-ha) people used the Ainsworth hot spring as a place for healing, soaking in the waters to relieve injuries. Then along came miners during the 1880s who started to expand the natural pool and created a mountainside cave. Come the 1970s, the Ainsworth Lodge was constructed around the expanded pool and cave, which can still be accessed as part of the recently renovated Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort.[/caption] Nestled into the mountainside, this natural hot spring is rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, lithium and silica, and said to have medicinal benefits. Long before official mineral analysis, the First Nations Ktunaxa (pronounced K-too-nah-ha) people used the hot spring as a place for healing, soaking in the waters to relieve injuries. Then along came miners during the 1880s who expanded the natural pool and created a mountainside cave. Come the 1970s, the Ainsworth Lodge was constructed around the expanded pool and cave, which can still be accessed as part of the recently renovated Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. The best time to soak in these spring-fed waters is early morning, before the pools get busy. Doors open to the public from 10am, or 8am for resort guests. If you’re visiting in August, another nearby pitstop is Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, where you can see thousands of spawning salmon swim upstream to release their eggs into the water. Turn back time [caption id="attachment_36015" align="alignnone" width="733"] Fort Steele Heritage Town[/caption] Following the Crowsnest into the East Kootneys, detour north to the Fort Steele Heritage Town. A booming gold rush town in the late 1800s, Fort Steele was later abandoned when the long-awaited Canadian Pacific railway bypassed the town in favour of neighbouring Cranbook. As both the population and real estate prices plummeted, it was close to a ghost town within a matter of years. Later designated a historic site, it reopened as Fort Steele Heritage Town in 1969, and has been giving passing road trippers a glimpse into the gold rush lifestyle ever since. With more than 60 restored and reconstructed buildings, and staff in full 1880s attire, visitors are encouraged to stroll around the township, watch the village blacksmith hammer new horse shoes, sample freshly baked goods at the bakery or take a ride in a horse and carriage. Yet another time warp along the forgotten Crowsnest. [caption id="attachment_36016" align="alignnone" width="733"] At Fort Steele Heritage Town, you’ll find over 60 restored and reconstructed buildings and staff in full 1980s attire, where you can spend a day strolling around the township, watching the village blacksmith hammering new horse shoes and sampling fresh-baked goods at the bakery, to riding in a horse and carriage.[/caption] var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');
Sail-yourself trip of the Canadian canals: your ultimate itinerary
Are you ready to set sail, on your terms?
Forget beef and sink your teeth into these Calgary dishes
It may be the heartland of Canada's beef country, but Calgary has a surprising number restaurants that will make you rethink the capital of Alberta. By Jim Byers. At Shokunin I’m served halibut cheeks with a stinging-nettle sauce, and scallops that are roasted in a seashell at my table and topped with smoking bonito flakes. At Ten Foot Henry I’m served insanely good tuna crudo topped with tiny onion strips, sesame seeds, fried capers, olive oil and chimichurri. [caption id="attachment_26365" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Head chef at Ten Foot Henry Restaurant, Calgary describes the food as "North American with a focus on veggies"; hence the heirloom carrots.[/caption] At an inexpensive place called Native Tongues I’m dazzled by roasted heirloom carrots topped with Mexican cheese, spices and lime juice. The home of the Calgary Stampede may still be Cowtown to some, but these days the top chefs pay far more attention to sourcing the perfect oyster mushrooms than they do the finest Alberta beef. The steaks are pretty extraordinary Not that you still can’t get a good steak in Calgary. [caption id="attachment_26362" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Argentina style steak with fresh vegetable-ceviche at Charbar Restaurant, Calgary (Photo: Mack Male, Flickr)[/caption] Charcut continues to serve truly amazing cuts of meat, and their sister restaurant Charbar makes an Argentina-style steak cooked over a wood fire to go along with fresh vegetable ceviche and other treats, served inside an old mattress factory with industrial charm to spare. It’s just one of many offering up prime cuts of beef in Calgary. [caption id="attachment_26363" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Connie DeSousa far left and her team at Charcut Restaurant, Calgary (Photo: Mack Male Flickr).[/caption] But the focus here is increasingly on locally sourced and super-fresh vegetables and fruit, served with an inventive flair that has caught the attention of food critics around the globe. Canada's top restaurant is here Pigeonhole was named Canada’s top restaurant a couple of years ago by an esteemed panel formed by EnRoute magazine, the official publication on Air Canada flights. It was very good when I went, but I wouldn’t put it in my top five for Calgary food spots, and that alone illustrates the depth of talent in Alberta these days. “Calgary has become a very serious player,” Ten Foot Henry chef Steve Smee told me on a recent visit. “I think something like 40 new restaurants opened in the past year, and it’s very competitive.” Smee said he calls his menu North American cuisine, with an emphasis on veggies. “Calgary is increasingly a cultural mosaic, a cultural melting pot,” he said. “We want to reflect that.” “We do things in a Japanese way but with our own ideas,” said Darren MacLean, the chef at Shokunin. [caption id="attachment_26364" align="alignnone" width="1024"] “Izakaya means artisan or craftsman.... There’s an implied, social obligation to do your best.” chef Darren MacLean of Shokunin Restaurant says. For example the duck tataki with foie gras. (Photo Michael Trudeau Photography).[/caption] To his point, you’ll find Canadian fiddleheads – the furled heads of local fern plants – mixed with his halibut cheeks. He also cooks small pieces of chicken meat from the backside of the bird, which means you might hear his tiny staff working up a storm in their tiny kitchen yelling out, “Two squid. Two chicken ass!” It’s a fun and lively spot, but MacLean is dead serious about his craft and his dedication to the concept of an Izakaya, being an informal but gastronomically correct Japanese dining spot. “Izakaya means artisan or craftsman, but there’s a deeper meaning that says someone will perform their utmost for you and those around you. There’s an implied, social obligation to do your best.” At the end of our meal, MacLean and I sit and talk about everything from politics to farm-to-table cuisine and Metallica versus ’90s rap tunes. Keeping things local is a big part of the scene in Calgary. Hit the city's top patio At Bonterra, where you’ll find one of the city’s top patios, they make their pasta carbonara with wild-boar bacon from a farm near the city rather than imported pancetta. Model Milk is a marvellous restaurant in central Calgary with an open kitchen and a funky vibe. [caption id="attachment_26367" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The industrial modern interior of Model Milk Restaurant, Calgary was once a dairy and the original brick and concrete floors are part of the slick interior. And yes the food is just as good.[/caption] The food is excellent and so are the drinks. Last time I was there I had a wicked drink with bourbon, house-made coffee/tobacco syrup and a port rinse, served in a small coffee mug with a lemon peel. It was dark, brooding and wonderful. The leader of the Calgary food scene Connie DeSousa, who has a few gallons of ink spread over her arms in a series of colourful tattoos, is one of the long-time leaders of the Calgary food scene. She runs the show at Charcut, where there is, of course, a strong emphasis on meat, as well as perfectly cooked veggies and inventive desserts. A couple of years ago she took me on a tour of the Calgary Farmers’ Market. [caption id="attachment_26361" align="alignnone" width="1024"] You can spy Calgary's top chefs sourcing their ingredients at the Calgary Farmers Market (Photo: Mack Male, Flickr).[/caption] “I buy most of my beef from Silver Sage and I get cheese from Sylvan Star,” she said, pointing to a couple of the stalls. DeSousa waxes poetic over the parsnips from Innisfail, Alberta as well as the purple potatoes. “I love working with their carrots; they’re super-sweet. And I love the rhubarb here. I like to cook it down and serve it as a compote.” DeSousa says Calgarians are well travelled and that they “want to try foods they’ve had in other parts of the world.” As someone who has been Calgary’s chef of the year, and as a foodie who has worked with such culinary stars as Alice Water of Chez Panisse in California, she knows her stuff. “People think of Montreal and Vancouver and Toronto for food, but we want them to think about Calgary, too.” var axel = Math.random() + ""; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');
Lodge in style at the Great Bear Rainforest’s Nimmo Bay Resort
Live wild, and also wildly pampered at a totally unique resort.
12 crazy only-in-Newfoundland foods you must try
From Climax candies to beer made from icebergs, here are 12 crazy Newfoundland foods to discover, if you dare. By Nikki Bayley. 1. Jiggs Dinner [caption id="attachment_26511" align="alignnone" width="1000"] A traditional "Jiggs Dinner" consists of boiled salt beef, spuds, carrots, cabbage and turnip; comfort food at its best.[/caption] Named after an Irish immigrant comic strip character, if you’ve got Irish relatives you’ve definitely had a ‘Jiggs Dinner’: salt beef, spuds, carrot, cabbage and turnip all boiled to within an inch of their lives and pretty much the perfect thing on a rainy Sunday. 2. Cod tongues Think of it more as a foodie nose-to-tail (or in this case tongue to fin) rite of passage; after all, it’s fashionable AND sustainable to eat what Anthony Bourdain called ‘the nasty bits’. [caption id="attachment_26506" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Nose-to-tail eating in Newfoundland is eating cod tongues, it's dipped in flour and fried (photo: Edsel Little Flickr).[/caption] Yes, these are real cod tongues, dipped in seasoned flour and fried – and they’re surprisingly tasty. For more ways with cod, find out how to become an honorary Newfoundlander here. 3. Scrunchions I feel that someone, somewhere was achingly hungover when scrunchions were invented: cubes of pork backfat, fried gently till the fat has rendered and they become salt-spangled porky puffs of pure joy. [caption id="attachment_26507" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Traditional Newfoundland food of scrunchions, fish and brewis (photo: Keith Pomakis Wikicommons).[/caption] These are usually paired with cod tongues or switched for croutons on chowder. 4. Bakeapple Also known as cloudberries, this terrifically tart berry grows wild in peat bogs and is a little like a sour raspberry. You’ll find bakeapples popping up on the breakfast table in jams and arriving at dessert time in a pie. 5. Oyster leaf The name of this curious wild-growing herb is a bit of a giveaway. It tastes exactly like an oyster: briny and fresh, but with a crunchy consistency. [caption id="attachment_26513" align="alignnone" width="1000"] If you've ever wondered what a crunchy oyster tastes like, the wild-growing oyster leaf in Newfoundland will satisfy your curiousity (photo: Nikki Bayley).[/caption] There is something disconcerting about leaves tasting like bivalves, but this cheffy ingredient can be found in Newfoundland’s best dining spots such as Fogo Island Inn (read more about Fogo Island Inn here) and Raymonds. 6. Touton Pronounced tow-ton, this is a deep-fried ball of dough, usually served with treacly black molasses. [caption id="attachment_26518" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Those with a sweet tooth will love toutons, they're deep fried dough and drizzled with molasses. Two more please (photo: Nikki Bayley).[/caption] Eating it will make you happier than you ever knew was possible. 7. Caribou moss Another cheffy hand-foraged ingredient that comes from the tundra. [caption id="attachment_26504" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Newfoundland's caribou moss can be candied, brined or dried to a crunchy chip (photo: Nikki Bayley).[/caption] You need to soak it with baking powder to strip it of its toxic acidity, but then it can be candied, brined, dried to a crunchy chip or a dozen other things to add a taste of place to a Newfoundland meal. 8. Purity Candy Impossible not to have a good giggle at this heritage candy company who sell bags of Climax Mixture and Peppermint Nobs with a perfectly straight face. [caption id="attachment_26505" align="alignnone" width="1000"] These are Christmas Nobs made by the heritage candy company Purity Factories, have a giggle at come of their more novelty candies (photo: Purity Factory).[/caption] Best purchased from the small town of Dildo (really, it’s a place) for maximum sniggering. 9. Iceberg Vodka / Iceberg Beer Unique in the world, no one else harvests icebergs and turns the 10,000-year-old, pre-Industrial Revolution pure water into booze, but the Newfoundlanders. [caption id="attachment_26510" align="alignnone" width="1000"] No one else in the world makes booze harvested from icebergs, except for Newfoundlanders that is (photo: Nikki Bayley).[/caption] So raise a glass of Iceberg Beer from the excellent Quidi Vidi brewery and follow that with a shot of Iceberg Vodka to say ‘thank you’. 10. Partridgeberry A little like a cranberry, this tongue-tinglingly sour berry comes with a side of amazing health benefits from fighting cancer to slowing the effects of ageing. [caption id="attachment_26514" align="alignnone" width="1000"] These scarlet berries are Newfoundland partridgeberries, they're sour but have amazing health benefits(photo: Warren Flynn Flickr).[/caption] Seek out the splendidly named Dark Tickle Company’s partridgeberry jam as a souvenir for home. 11. Flipper Pie Not a euphemism. Flipper pie is made with actual seal flippers and I’m told it’s a delicacy; the seal meat is gamey yet fishy at the same time. Alas, the pie I had precisely one bite of was on a boat and handed to me with the apology, ‘That flipper’s a bit oozy.’ Trust me. Never eat an oozy flipper. 12. Labrador tea This most determined plant grows flat on the freezing tundra, its deep green leaves curled under and white flowers briefly blossoming. Traditionally used by First Nations as a Vitamin C-rich tea, you can also find it as a botanical in Ungava gin. Can't get enough of Canada? We've got an amazing amount of information on Canada, check out our guides below: Newbies to Canada: Canada 101: A Beginner’s Introduction Need more inspiration? here's 100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');
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