Gifts to Bring Home From Canada

Like most countries, Canada has a selection of unique items that make for interesting souvenirs for travellers. From small and easy-to-pack trinkets to bulky blankets and sweaters, these souvenirs will conjure up your days in Canada when you're long gone. 

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.

  • 01 of 09

    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 locally at, for example, Finest at Sea Ocean on Granville Island. Get 1/2 lb smoked salmon for about Cdn$25.

  • 02 of 09
    ••• Westend61/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 purchased as knick-knacks, stand-alone sculpture or embellishing jewelry and t-shirts.

    Read about more Inuit and Native American Inventions

  • 03 of 09
    ••• Ice wine is a Canadian specialty. Photo © Wines in Niagara

    Icewine is a sweet dessert wine produced using grapes frozen on the vine. Canada, which has no problem providing freezing conditions, 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.

  • 04 of 09
    ••• Frozen apples about to be turned into ice cider. Photo © Ontario Culinary

    First developed in 1990, though 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. It is found in Quebec and less so in Ontario.

    Like its popular Canadian cousin, ice wine, ice cider nicely complements desserts, pâtés, foie gras, game, fine cheeses and more. Ice cider is found at SAQs across Quebec and specialty stores. SAQs are the government stores authorized to sell alcohol in Quebec.

    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.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09
    ••• Jay's photo/Getty Images

    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.

  • 06 of 09
    ••• LauriPatterson/Getty Images

    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.

  • 07 of 09
    ••• Brian Hillier/Getty Images

    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.

  • 08 of 09
    ••• Patrick J. Endres/Getty Images

    Most tourist destination in Canada will promote some sort of First Nations art in the form of carvings, soapstone sculpture, leatherwork, and paintings. 

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09
    ••• Moon Angel/Flickr

    Since at least 1780 and much likely earlier, these iconic wool blankets have been keeping Canadians warm. The blankets are sold exclusively by the Hudson's Bay Company, a department store whose beginnings are in line with those of Canada itself. The warmth and color of the blankets were highly prized by Canadian "Indians," who traded their beaver pelts in exchange for them with English settlers.