The best things about Canada have got to be our stunning natural landscapes and the friendly people who live here, but Canada also excels at sweet treats and savoury delights. Maybe we need extra energy to make it through those long winters or maybe living in igloos helps us appreciate the finer things in life, but as we roll into this great nation’s 149th birthday why not celebrate with some unique Canadian treats?
Canada Day in Whistler is a big deal. There’s a parade, a pancake breakfast, and a free performance from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. We’ve already outlined Whistler’s most Canadian activities but in case you miss out on the free cake and ice cream, here are some other uniquely Canadian snacks, treats and beverages to help you party like a real Canuck!
Maple Bacon Donut
Studies show us Canadians eat about 600 million donuts a year (that’s more per capita than any other country on the planet) and once you try this delight it’s easy to understand why. Maple syrup is a historical part of the Canadian identity and bacon is like candy with protein so to have all that combined in donut form…it’s more fun than confederation. Find this tasty bit of Canadiana at Portobello in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in the Upper Village.
Wild Pacific Salmon & Traditional Bannock
Out west, we are fiercely proud of our wild salmon. Their drive to migrate through the ocean to spawn in the same stream they were born in remain one of nature’s greatest mysteries. From fishing to tourism to providing nutrients for our forest ecosystems, wild salmon literally are the lifeblood of British Columbia.
They are also very tasty to eat. The Thunderbird Café in Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre has an incredibly tasty wild salmon chowder served in one of Canada’s most celebrated First Nations museums. The venison bannock tacos are pretty incredible too and serve as the perfect lunch break for the ultimate Canadian culture afternoon spent hitting the Cultural Centre and the new Audain Art Museum. Or combine an ATV ride with a salmon bake at the Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain for a touch of outdoor adventure, just the way Canadians like it.
Left: The famous Bannock Taco, photo courtesy of the SLCC. Right: BLAKE JORGENSON/DESTINATION BC PHOTO
Canada is a great country to be a dentist because Canadians seem to have a full mouth of sweet teeth. Beavertails are basically a flat oval of hand-stretched pastry cooked fresh and covered with almost any kind of sweets you can imagine, from the classic Cinnamon & Sugar to peanut butter, chocolate, marshmallows, Reese’s Pieces and more. You’ve not done Canada properly if you haven’t mauled a couple of these treats. BeaverTails is located near the bottom of the bike park at the stairs under Sushi Village and at mid-station on Whistler Mountain.
Maple Syrup Taffy
Another Canadian classic from our cousins back east. This sugary candy is made by carefully boiling maple sap then pouring it over shaved ice or snow to solidify it into a tasty slab of pure Canadiana. As much fun to make as it is to eat, these treats can only be found at a booth in the Whistler Farmers’ Market, which is held every Wednesday and Sunday afternoons at the Upper Village.
If you are already checking out the Farmers’ Market take time to sample some of Nature’s own sweets – fresh berries, grown right here in BC. At this time of year blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are in season and taste absolutely phenomenal. Cherries are also ready – keep an eye out for Rainier cherries with their cheery yellow and red skins.
Considered one of Canada’s quintessential desserts, the Butter Tart also has a rich history as a ski lodge treat. Consisting of butter, sugar and eggs in a pastry shell, these little sugar-bombs aren’t complicated but that’s part of what makes them perfect. The key is the runny consistency of the filling, and some bakeries will add nuts or raisins to spice things up. Look for these babies at Purebread, Whistler’s premier bakery, or at the fresh-baked tables at the Whistler Farmers’ Market.
You won’t find it in any of Whistler’s top restaurants but “KD” is a staple of the Canadian culinary experience (this is what Canadians ask us to send them when they move overseas.) Essentially just a cheap and easy macaroni and cheese lunch that comes in a box and takes 10 minutes to make, these unnaturally orange noodles somehow have become part of our national, and local identity. So much so that Showcase Snowboards used to sell boxes of it at below cost to cater to all the young rippers arriving for a season but forced to live on a tight budget until the mountains opened. Find Kraft Dinner in any grocery store, all you need is boiling water.
(while you’re there, check out Ketchup Potato Chips)
Little known fact, these no-baking-needed desserts were actually invented in the town of Ladysmith, BC, not Nanaimo. If a wafer crumb base topped with custard flavoured butter icing and a firm layer of solid chocolate sounds like your kind of Canadiana, then get out to Gone Bakery, Moguls, Lift Coffee or the Grocery store and try “Canada’s Favourite Confection” for yourself.
The Insider just dedicated an entire post to Poutine, the unofficial national food Quebec, but few late-night snacks can hold up to this meltingly Canadian pile of fries, cheese curds and piping hot gravy. Go get some.
Savoury satisfaction. Left: Caesar with all the trimmings. Right: Poutine. Image courtesy the FireRock Lounge at the Westin Resort & Spa Whistler.
No list of Canadian delights would be complete without our nation’s most popular cocktail, the ever-present, ultra-refreshing Caesar. Also known as a “Bloody Caesar”, this infamous Canadian hangover cure is among the most ordered food or beverage items in all of Whistler. (Per capita, no community drinks anywhere near as many). Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro is hosting a Bloody Caesar competition in conjunction with their Oyster Shucking Championships at Cornucopia Whistler this year but in the meantime check out this Insider Caesar Video and remember, this July 1 you can be Canadian for a day, if you eat and drink like one.