Fridge magnets, decorative pieces, stationery items, handmade stuff, these are some of my favourite things I like to bring home from the places I visit.
For me, souvenirs are the best way to stay connected with a place even when I am back home. My trip to any place is incomplete without shopping but I often get overwhelmed with the decision about what to buy and what to leave.
So, I have created a list of ‘top 20 souvenirs to pick from Canada’ that would help you decide what to buy when you visit this beautiful country.
For the Fashionista in you
Though I won’t call myself a fashionista but occasionally I do like to buy good quality stuff that is comfortable and effortlessly chic. You may fall short of money but not of the options to choose such things in Canada.
Roots rose to fame when they outfitted Canadian Olympic Team in 1976. I came to know about it when my cousin who lives in Canada told me about this brand and his love for it. What’s best about Roots is that their clothing is stylish yet very comfortable. There is a lot that you can choose from- T-shirts, sweatshirts, activewear, leather goods, footwear and home furnishings. Roots Salt & Pepper sweats and Award Jacket are very popular.
It is a woollen garment knitted of bulky yarn in a distinct pattern. The origin of these sweaters dates back to the 19th century among the Cowichan, a Coast Salish people in British Columbia. These sweaters are unique being made of unprocessed homespun wool in natural colours such as white, blackish- brown and grey.
Cowichan Sweater and Coast Salish knitters were designated by the Canadian Government as historically and nationally significant in 2011. These have also been gifted to the dignitaries, celebrities and guests as a symbol of Canada.
Though a bit expensive, these make a great souvenir if you are a fan of handmade, indigenous crafts. I feel that handmade stuff, especially the one with so much of history behind it, carries a lot more than what we see in the final product when it reaches us.
The famous Lululemon brand was created in Vancouver in 1998. It is an athletic apparel company for men and women and aims at creating a space where people can become more aware about physical health. You can visit its Vancouver store and shop for its yoga brand that is loved worldwide.
People’s love and obsession with sports is quite evident in Canada, especially for hockey. You can get hockey sticks in various colours and sizes. Sports jerseys of the sports team would make the right gift for a sports lover. If you are a fan yourself, indulge and check out these for yourself. After all, it doesn’t harm to look great while sweating it out? Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, you have a lot of options to choose from.
I have to bring something from my trip that can help me cope with the low feeling when the trip is over. At least until I start planning for the next. Here are a few of such things.
Handmade Organic Soap
If, like me, you are also a fan of handmade organic things then you should definitely look for handmade organic soaps to take back home with you from Canada. Scented soaps are a guilt-free affordable luxury for me.
Some of the reasons that I always end up buying such things is that they are affordable, easy to pack and carry. Also, they make a great gift for my friends.
Premium Soy Candles
Handmade with natural scents and premium soy wax blends which burns cleanly and longer than traditional paraffin candles, these divine smelling candles were something I just had to buy. These are eco-friendly and long lasting.
You can buy these in many scents like coffee, vanila, tea, honey, saffron, sandalwood, eucalyptus etc.
Canadian Ice Wine
I have to admit that before this I had no idea that something called ‘Ice Wine’ exists. I came to know about its popularity quite late. Anyways, let’s get to the point straight. So Ice Wine is made with the frozen grapes while they are still on the vines.
This makes it more concentrated and tastes better.
It is often served along with the dessert after a meal. It makes a great souvenir for people who love their bubbles.
Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
Whether it is for your own indulgence or as a gift, Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey won’t fail you. Crown Royal Whiskey is something that helps Canadians stay warm in the bone-chilling winters.
There are many limited editions that are available only in Canada.
Do not forget to try this and also get some packed in your luggage for those special people who keep reminding you to get some for them.
Canadian diamonds are famous for their great quality and being ethically sourced. Diamond rich areas were discovered in Canada in early 1990s and now it plays a big role in the world market of diamonds.
Due to the exact reasons they can be quite heavy on your pocket but if you have some great upcoming event like an engagement or a wedding then no harm in checking out.
After all, which woman doesn’t like diamonds?
A dose of Art and History
One of the great things about traveling is getting to learn a lot of things about the place. I love to know more about the place I visit. It could be about its people, geography, culture, art and history.
Visiting the museums and local markets is a great way to experience it.
Authentic Indigenous Art
Shopping from the local markets is always a good way to support the local economy and small sellers. You can also find artwork by some famous Indigenous artists in the Vancouver area. During the holiday season, you can find many bazaars and markets selling a huge variety of stuff.
For people who are interested in aboriginal art, there are some great places to get your kind of stuff.
You can buy products like jewelry, scarves, wood carvings, decorative pieces.
‘Inukshuk’ literally means ‘that which acts in the capacity of a human.’ A symbol of Canadian culture and heritage, these man made stone monuments were used in the older times for navigation, to mark a place or travel routes.
These were originally built by Inuit living in Arctic Canada. The stones are stacked in such a way that resemble a human figure.
This historical symbol replica is available for sale which people buy as gifts and souvenirs.
The Inukshuk resembling the shape of a person signifies friendship and hope beyond borders, which is the image Canada has created for itself in the world.
I love to buy things that have some positive meaning and significance.
It is believed that they guide you and bring good luck.
Dreamcatchers have always fascinated me.
A dreamcatcher is made up of a hoop that has a woven web-like pattern.
Colorful threads, beads, and feathers make it look beautiful. I love the belief behind these that they have the ability to catch the dreams. Negative ones stay entangled till daylight destroys them and the good ones flow towards the person sleeping below it.
This is an original art of the native people that spread to the neighboring places from here. I couldn’t resist buying a colorful one for myself.
Totem Poles are an emblem that used to be created by indigenous people to showcase their family history and to commemorate an event or special occasions or to tell stories.
These were carved out of wood and painted with colors.
Totem Poles hold a significant place in the First Nations culture as unique symbols and figures painted on them held meaningful interpretations about the family or the clan. Replicas of these Totem poles can be found in many gift shops in various sizes.
Find a unique one that attracts you enough to take it home with you.
Wooden Masks and Headdresses
A part of traditional ceremonies of the First Nations, wooden masks and headdresses are another popular souvenirs that visitors buy in Canada to take home with them.
These are used in cultural dramas, dances and decorations.
These masks depict various birds, animals and characters. You can find these in huge varieties and sizes.
I chose to buy in very small sizes for a collection.
Bentwood Boxes are generally made using one plank of wood (usually cedar) which is steamed and bent to make a box.
These were traditionally made by the First Nation people and used for many purposes like storage, transporting and for funeral ceremonies.
These boxes are often adorned with beautiful carving, painting and inlay work.
Hudson Bay Blanket
Hudson Bay is the most popular chain store in Canada. Their iconic white blankets with red, green, yellow and indigo stripes have become a household thing in Canada.
These 100% wool lightweight blankets are something that you can splurge on to keep you warm and comfortable in winters.
In Hudson Bay Company stores, you can also shop for throws, mittens, scarves and wraps.
I just felt like buying every second thing I saw in the store but obviously couldn’t afford it!
Anne of Green Gables
This is a very popular book in Canada written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It is the story of the adventures of Anne, an orphan girl living in Prince Edward Island.
The book has been adapted into many films and television series and also translated into more than 35 languages. Selling more than 50 million copies, it became one of the best selling books worldwide.
Seemed like I had found the best gift for my niece who loves to read.
The Taste of Canada
Now wouldn’t that be a waste if you visit a place without tasting the local flavours? Beyond the pretty obvious and famous Maple Syrup, there is a lot more that you just have to try.
Tim Horton’s Coffee
Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest restaurant chain. This is the most favoured Coffee chain in Canada that was started by a famous Canadian Ice Hockey Player. Along with its famous coffee, it is loved for doughnuts, muffins, croissants and other food items.
You must try it as it has the reputation of being preferred over Starbucks by many locals in Canada.
Packaged versions of its coffee can be bought to carry its amazing flavour home with you.
This is one of the most famous chocolate brands in Canada. Purdy’s chocolates is based out of Vancouver, Canada.
I love trying chocolates at every different place I visit. Moreover, they make a great gift to take back home for the kids and friends. Neither too heavy on the pocket, nor on the luggage.
The amazing taste and richness of these chocolates will remind you of the sweetness of your Canada trip even when you are back home.
I have heard that Smoked Salmon is one of the things that most people visiting Canada take home. For people who love non-vegetarian food should definitely try this.
You can buy it in vacuum sealed packages or frozen from the airport to carry home. Granville Island and Lonsdale Quay are the right places to find some best quality salmon.
Though there is not much traditional cuisine in Canada but that doesn’t equals ‘limited food options’. Canadians love to eat and there is a lot of yummy stuff that the foodie in you would love to try and pack some for home.
Grab some popular Canadian food items like Kraft Dinner, Lays Ketchup Chips, Coffee Crisps, Nanaimo Bars, Smarties, Butter Tarts.
Maple makes me think of Canada and probably everyone else too!
It is the most popular choice to bring back home as a souvenir and as a gift is a bottle of Maple Syrup.
Canadians love Maple and everything related to it.
You can easily find Maple syrup at all kinds of shops and stores.
It would be great if you can find a local producer or shop where you would get to know more about it.
The kinds of syrups, how to differentiate on the basis of its color.
Maple Syrup is categorised on the basis of its color- Golden, Amber and dark. The golden one has delicate taste, amber has rich taste and dark one has a robust flavour.
In case, even after stocking up with bottles of Maple Syrup, you are still longing for something Maple-ish, I have some more ideas for you. Nobody can resist the temptation of a long soothing bath with maple scented bath bombs.
Even thinking of it makes me feel relaxed. Maple candles are my personal favourite obviously because of their amazing fragrance.
Maple themed Christmas ornaments are sure a thing in Canada. You can buy these for your Christmas tree or as gifts. Maple candies and cookies are a great gift for the kids back home.
If you have a lot of friends expecting you to bring some gifts for them from Canada, you can buy the good old keychains in Maple shape and many other quirky designs.
Depending upon your likes and preferences, you may choose some (or even all if you can afford it, unlike me) of these souvenirs to get from Canada.
I am sure they would keep reminding you of the places you went and the adventures you had.
So, when you visit Canada, be mindful of bringing a little bit of Canada to your home and life.