Celebrating Culinary Tourism for Canada’s 150th Year

Last Updated July 20, 2017

Canada is a huge country with a very diverse culture, which means there is an untold amount of experiences to enjoy from coast to coast to coast. What better way to celebrate that opportunity than to get out to the mountains, prairies and shores of the true north, strong and free?

We started packing our bags until the boss said the “blog writer travel allowance doesn’t exist.  That’s not a thing.”

Instead, we decided to live vicariously through some of our lovely partners.

Five of Canada’s leading food tour operators chimed in with us to share how they’re celebrating and making the most out of the big 1-5-0.

Vancouver Foodie Tours

Michelle Ngvancouver
People love coming to Canada to experience our culinary scene because we offer some of the most exceptional fresh produce, pristine seafood, and quality game meats. We also have some incredibly talented chefs from many cultures, who create very interesting dishes. In Vancouver, we have a city full of food-lovers. We are a city that is very engaged with ingredient origins, from how seafood is harvested, how livestock is raised, to dish preparation and the story of the chef who’s preparing their dishes. All of these ingredients create a very engaged food community, that appreciates delicious food prepared in a responsible way.

Canada’s 150th generated amazing publicity for Canada as a top destination to visit in 2017. Although Canada consistently ranks as one of the most desirable destinations to visit, there has not been a lot of urgency for people to actually plan and carry out the trip. With the many activities and promotions that are happening as a result of Canada’s 150th in 2017, Canada has become top of mind as a destination to visit – now. As a result of the increased interest, we have opened up a lot more tour departure times, and we also celebrated the occasion with a Canada 150th themed tour with fun trivia questions.

Our Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour does an excellent job of showcasing the diverse cultures and foods that Vancouver is known for. From Vancouver’s best Chinese dim sum, to local BC wines, cheese, seafood, to French macarons and the world’s best gelato, this is the best way to eat Vancouver!

Learn more at foodietours.ca.

Alberta Food Tours – Calgary, Edmonton, & Canmore

Karen Anderson

albertaCanada is the world’s second largest country. We have three coastlines and a broad gamut of regional cuisines in our 10 provinces and three territories. A person travelling our country will taste signature ingredients in each of those areas and each will be an integral reflection of the geography and people’s heritage tied to that area – lobster in PEI, cod cheeks in Newfoundland, blueberries in Nova Scotia, fried clams in New Brunswick, maple syrup in Quebec, fresh Niagara produce and peaches in Ontario, Manitoba wheat, Saskatchewan Pickerel, Alberta beef and bison, B.C. sockeye salmon and the sourdough of the territories. Add in foraged delicacies and world class chefs cooking with food grown in the world’s best soils, it is no wonder we are emerging as the table everyone wants a seat at.

At Alberta Food Tours, we were inspired by our nation’s 150th birthday to involve as many Albertans as possible in sharing our food story. We chose Instagram as the platform to do this and between June 1 to August 7 we are giving away 150 prizes for people who post photos and stories of what they are eating posted with our branded hashtag #eatalberta150. Every winner gets a cupcake to celebrate the birthday and our over 70 partners in the province all donated some astounding gifts of food and hotel experiences. We are going to create a legacy video to celebrate the award-winning photos. We applied early for official permission to use the Canada150 logo and are thrilled with the community we are building and the additional employment our company has created with our EatAlberta150 campaign. Now we’ll have a very visual way to show the world how great it is to eat here.

On a couple of our tours, we start at very fine French restaurants. This year instead of just sitting and having a salad with a French vinaigrette, we do a mini cooking lesson where we use Alberta honey and canola to create an Alberta Vinaigrette instead. Everyone goes home with a recipe card and a list of Alberta signature foods. It’s an easy but powerful reminder to use local first and to convey the story of Alberta being the 5th largest honey producer in the world and inventor of canola oil.

Learn more at albertafoodtours.ca.

Culinary Adventure Company – Toronto

Kevin Durkee

torontoHaving traveled coast to coast recently to celebrate Canada 150 has only cemented what I already knew about Canada – and that is – our country is jammed packed with incredible food stories. Our geography enables unique regions to be featured, whether it’s incredible seafood on the coasts, to the best cheeses in the centre, to diversity of flavours in our urban cities – Canada is becoming a destination for food like no other.

Canada 150 was a great chance to focus on what defines us a nation. It also allowed us to have some extra fun with “Canadian cuisine” and all the those cultural and cliché icons we love.  At Culinary Adventure Co., we developed a Made in Canada Food Tour that ran in all the cities in which we operate as a celebration of those tasty dishes like poutine, bacon and seafood – but we looked for way to elevate them, and find the unexpected to surprise and delight our guests. So whether it was offering Beef Bacon, instead traditional Pork – or offering local Ontario Smoked Trout instead the common Smoked Salmon, our guests were treated to new flavours and favourites they hadn’t considered before, creating new food memories.

Our COUNTY MOUSE Culinary Adventure is a true local farm, table, artisan experience. It’s purely Ontario. Our guests enjoy a full day in Oxford County, Canada’s Dairy capital for a guided tour to celebrate local cheese. Whether it’s visiting Canada’s old honey farm, or meeting the Brewmaster at a local craft brewery to getting on the factory floor of an award-winning Cheese maker – our COUNTY MOUSE Culinary Adventure truly celebrates the region, the local flavours and the craftsmanship of the area’s food and drink producers.

Learn more at culinaryadventureco.com.

Quebec City Food Tours

Émilie Bergeron

quebec cityCanada, especially Quebec, has 2 things that have made the culinary industry evolve greatly. The first is our vast lands that are great for agriculture, our great rivers filled with different species of fish, and also our prized game that is distinctive of our country. The second is our melting pot of influence from around the world: French cuisine mixed with some English, all ethnic foods that immigrants have brought from their own country, italians, greeks, israeli, portuguese, chinese, just to name a few. All of this is not a secret to the rest of the world and people are coming to Canada to taste foods they wouldn’t be able to have in their own country. Hello Poutine!

Because of Canada’s 150’s anniversary, our regular yearly events are bigger, better and have more fireworks! There’s an amazing team at our Tourism Office that creates content to attract even more visitors to our city and that’s where our business benefits; by welcoming more people on our tours every day.

The name Canada comes from the Iroquoian word “kanata” which means “village”. Our personal experiences in Canada are those of a big village. Everywhere you go, people will try to make you feel welcome. In the Quebec region, you always meet people that know someone you know, and that always impresses me!

Learn more at quebeccityfoodtours.com.

Experience PEI – Prince Edward Island

Bill Kendrick

PEII’m not sure people actually come to Canada for culinary tourism however I think once they decide to come to Canada they look  for local culinary experiences to participate in.  Food is a way visitors connect with a destination, its culture and its people.  At Experience PEI, we’ve tried to develop food-based experiences that not only expose visitors to our Island food products but allows them to meet and interact with local food producers, harvesters and providers in a way that it is more intimate than simply dining at a restaurant.

Through our partnership with Culinary Adventure Co we have created a Made in Canada Food Tour that focuses on iconic Canadian foods prepared with an Island twist.  So we’re offering lobster….right on a lobster boat, Island mussels paired with a local craft beer flavoured with Island blueberries, award-winning seafood chowder made from locally harvested seafood, poutine made using Island cheese curds and a unique Island Beavertail.

With the importance of the shellfish industry on Prince Edward Island, we have several food experiences that share the stories of different fishers who have harvested lobster, mussels, clams and oysters for generations.  Our Beachcomber’s Clam Boil is provided by a man who has worked in the fishing industry all his life and is passionate about sharing his stories with visitors.  Through his tales, travellers come to appreciate the work that goes into providing the shellfish so many of them come to the Island to experience.

Learn more experiencepei.ca.

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