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Top 7 Gifts from Canada - Get Ideas for Great Gifts from Canada


Duty Free Shopping in Canada | Border Crossing Tips | Can I Bring Liquor to Canada

There are a few Canadian gifts that are favorites among the American friends I visit, so I bring them every time. If you would like to bring a little Canadiana back with you on your way home from Canada, here is a list of gifts and souvenirs that are unique (or almost unique) to Canada.

These items are likely available at airports in Canada or at duty free shops at the US / Canada border as well as at other suggested outlets.

1. Smoked BC Salmon

West Coast salmon is famous worldwide, and smoked salmon is one of the most popular gifts purchased by Canadian visitors.

Cold smoked salmon, also known as lox, can be bought frozen and lasts about 24 hours at room temperature - allowing visitors time to get it home. Cooked smoked salmon does not need refrigeration and therefore can be taken on longer journeys or bought online at Salmon Village. Get 1/2 lb smoked salmon for about Cdn$20.

Salmon Village in Vancouver, BC, smokes its own salmon using no artificial flavor, nitrites or artificial preservatives.

2. Inukshuk

Photo by Mark Harris / Getty Images

Originally built by Inuit living in Arctic Canada, the inuksuk (inuksuk is the preferred spelling, but not the widest used) is a sculpture made of stone intended to mimic a human body. They are traditionally used mostly as hunting and navigational aids, but are seen across the country in a decorative way. Especially after the symbol's prominence during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010, the inuksuk can be found as knick-knacks or embellishing jewellery and t-shirts.

Read about more Inuit and Native American Inventions

3. Ice Wine

Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine produced using grapes frozen on the vine. Canada, of course, has no problem providing freezing conditions and is the largest ice wine producer in the world.

Ice wines are popular for their concentrated flavor and sweetness balanced by high acidity, giving ice wine its clean finish.

Ice wines are extremely sweet and best enjoyed when complemented by something else as sweet or rich foods, like foie gras.

One of my favorite ice wines is Cave Springs Riesling Icewine for about Cdn $60. Other popular ice wines include those from Inniskillin and Mission Hill.

4. Ice Cider

Particularly popular after the Ice Storm of 1998 that devastated part of southern Quebec and left millions of frozen apples in its wake, ice cider, also known as cidre de glace or apple ice wine, is produced through the alcoholic fermentation of the juice of pressed frozen apples.

Like its popular Canadian cousin, ice wine, ice cider nicely complements desserts, pâtés, foie gras, game, fine cheeses and more.

Neige Apple Ice Wine is available at the Atwater Market in Montreal or see the Cidre de Glace website for purchasing details. Domaine Pinnacle is another delicious ice cider.

5. Butter Tarts

Akin to pecan pie, the butter tart is butter, sugar and eggs in a pastry shell, and depending on who you talk to, may contain nuts, raisins or chocolate chips. As a butter tart purist myself, I scoff at gratuitous ingredients. Like many Canadians, I take my butter tarts seriously. As one of the few distinctly Canadian foods - one that was a staple of pioneer Canadian cooking, and is indeed delicious - visitors should give them a try and bring some home to share.

Pick up a half dozen at most any Canadian bakery, at some US / Canada duty-free shops or at Tim Hortons coffee shops or make them yourself. Try our recipe.

6. Nanaimo Bars

These triple-layer chocolate squares hail from Nanaimo, British Columbia, but can be found all over Canada at most bakeries and Tim Horton Donut stores.

7. The Toonie

Foreign coins are usually a winning souvenir amongst kids. The Canadian toonie especially is a large, attractive coin that is silver with a round brass inlay and makes for a great gift from Canada. Hang on to a couple at the end of your trip.

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