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The Ultimate Insiders' Guide to Canada

From the Yukon to Newfoundland, 13 Canadians take us to their favourite spots.

Nunavut

Rannva Design

Many Inuit have an amauti made by someone in their family, but Rannva Simonsen’s seal fur parkas are on another level. She uses traditional material, but the cuts of the jackets are feminine and fitted, with elaborate trimmings – they accentuate a body in all the right ways. People don’t expect style to be a priority in the North, but indigenous fashion is a big thing, especially when it comes to jackets.

3102 Angel St., Iqaluit, 867-979-3183

Maika Harper
Maika Harper
Actress, Mohawk Girls and Kim’s Convenience

Hometown Iqaluit
Home base Toronto

Ingraham Trail

Photo: HikeBikeTravel.com

Northwest Territories

Ingraham Trail

This 70-kilometre road, or driving trail, leads east out of Yellowknife, with day hikes, picnic areas, canoe routes and campgrounds accessible from it. My favourite spot off the trail is Hidden Lake Territorial Park. It’s a gorgeous clear lake with little islands and lots of great camping spots.


Chloe Dragon Smith
Chloe Dragon Smith
Co-chair of the Canadian Parks Council’s The Nature Playbook, a guide that helps young Canadians connect with nature

Hometown and home base Yellowknife

Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Photo: Jake Paleczny

Yukon

Yukon Wildlife Preserve

The Preserve is more casual than a zoo, and it’s a great place to see Yukon animals in their natural habitat – moose, elk, arctic foxes, wolverines and bison. You can walk the circuit, or there’s a bus that’ll take you around. I went many times as a kid, and I have a little boy now who thought the bison and eagles were pretty cool when we went.

Takhini Hot Springs Rd., Whitehorse, 867-456-7300

Stephen Kozmeniuk
Stephen Kozmeniuk
Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist

Hometown Whitehorse
Home base Toronto

Orpheum Theatre

Photo: Vancouver Symphony Society

British Columbia

Orpheum Theatre

My wife and I try to see as many shows as we can at this beautiful theatre. My favourite was the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Harry Potter Film Concert Series; the orchestra performed the soundtrack while the movie played on a screen above, and both kids and adults in the audience were in costumes.

601 Smithe St., Vancouver, 604-665-3050

Santa Ono
Santa Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of British Columbia

Hometown and home base Vancouver

The Donut Mill

Photo: Kathleen Cooper

Alberta

The Donut Mill

If I’m driving from Edmonton to Calgary or the Rockies, I have to stop at this doughnut shop on the west side of Gasoline Alley, just south of Red Deer. They have a massive selection that you don’t see at other places – a whole wall with flavours like Apple Pie and Rolo. Even if you don’t like cream-filled varieties, the Orange Creamsicle, with orange and vanilla whipped cream, is a must-try.

123 Leva Ave., Red Deer, 403-347-8904

Jen Kish
Jen Kish
Team Canada rugby sevens player

Hometown and home base Edmonton

Afghan Cuisine

Saskatchewan

Afghan Cuisine

Like a lot of amazing ethnic restaurants, this one is tucked away in an unassuming strip mall. I love the chicken tikka and the lamb dishes – everything is the right amount of spicy. And the Napoleon cake, a light and airy pastry with whipped cream, is a great way to end a meal. My husband and I eat here often, and we like to take out-of-town friends.

832 Albert St., Regina, 306-949-0800

Zarqa Nawaz
Zarqa Nawaz
Creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie and author of Laughing All the Way to the Mosque

Hometown Brampton, ON
Home base Regina

Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club

Manitoba

Times Change(d) High and Lonesome Club

This small roots-and-blues live-music venue is the kind of place you have to know about. It’s got a dive-bar feel, but it’s always packed with people from all walks of life. Once, former governor general Michaëlle Jean was in town and we were in meetings during the day. Then at night, a friend and I went to the High and Lonesome Club for a drink and there she was, with a friend, listening to the music.

234 Main St., Winnipeg, 204-957-0982

Peter Tielmann
Peter Tielmann
President and CEO, EQ3

Hometown Bonn, Germany
Home base Winnipeg

Drupati’s Roti & Doubles

Photo: Avinash Bujhawan

Ontario

Drupati’s Roti & Doubles

On Sundays, people descend on this suburban Caribbean restaurant from churches, all-night parties and downtown neighbourhoods to feast on stew chicken and addictive curried chickpea pockets called doubles. There are multiple locations in the GTA, but I go to the one in Scarborough to savour those spiced mouthfuls.

1085 Bellamy Rd. N., Toronto, 416-289-9988

Cameron Bailey
Cameron Bailey
Artistic director, Toronto International Film Festival

Hometowns London and Rock Dundo, Barbados
Home base Toronto

Bar George

Photo: Cindy La

Québec

Bar George

When you step into this grand former home of a Scottish baron, you feel like a member of the 19th-century bourgeoisie. It used to be a private club, so it’s great that this spectacular heritage building is now open to the public, serving British fare inspired by the original owner, like Earl Grey smoked salmon with crumpets.

1440, rue Drummond, Montréal, 514-669-9243

Vanessa Pilon
Vanessa Pilon
TV host, Switch tes fripes

Hometown and home base Montréal

Eel River Bar First Nation

Photo: canadabrian/Alamy

New Brunswick

Eel River Bar First Nation

The mix of French, English, white and indigenous is more intermeshed in the North Shore region than I’ve seen elsewhere. It’s also home to one of the world’s longest natural sand-bars. When I visit, I have a bonfire on the beach and then I take a dip, because New Brunswickers can handle cold water.


Candy Palmater
Candy Palmater
Comedian and broadcaster

Hometown Point La Nim, NB
Home base Toronto

Christina Parker Gallery

Photo: Chris Crockwell, courtesy of Carvel & Helm; art: Ned Pratt

Newfoundland and Labrador

Christina Parker Gallery

One of the largest commercial galleries in eastern Canada overlooks the Narrows (the entrance to St. John’s harbour). It’s white and modern, but doesn’t have that elite, big-city feeling. They represent many Newfoundland artists and I’ve purchased over 20 of their pieces for my restaurants – a guest even went to buy a photo by Scott Walden, who documents Newfoundland’s Canadian Legions, after seeing it at Raymonds.

50 Water St., St. John’s, 709-753-0580

Jeremy Charles
Jeremy Charles
Head chef, Raymonds

Hometown and home base St. John’s

Nova Scotia

The Armview Restaurant & Lounge

This classic diner overlooks the Northwest Arm and the Armdale Roundabout, a famous traffic circle in downtown Halifax. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city and it’s a real meeting place for locals, who come for the seafood, like the delicious fresh haddock that comes baked, pan-seared or poached.

7156 Chebucto Rd., Halifax, 902-455-4395

Jeff Dahn
Jeff Dahn
Battery scientist, recipient of the Herzberg Gold Medal

Hometown Lunenburg, NS
Home base Halifax

Prince Edward Island

Back Alley Music

I go to dig through the new-arrivals bins at this vinyl store a couple times a month. It has that dusty-old-record-shop feel to it, and they’ve got lots of rare finds. My best purchase was an original pressing of Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick.

169 Great George St., Charlottetown, 902-367-3311

Stuart Duncan
Stuart Duncan
CEO, Icejam mobile games

Hometown Cambridge, ON
Home base Charlottetown

 

Profile photos: Paul Joseph, University of British Columbia (Santa Ono); Kevin Light (Jen Kish); Eric Myre for Mohawk Girls (Maika Harper); Courtesy of TIFF photographer Matt Barnes (Cameron Bailey); John Cullen (Jeremy Charles); Danny Abriel Dalhousie Photography (Jeff Dahn); Same Ravenelle (Vanessa Pilon); Christopher Reardon (Candy Palmater); Charles R. Venzon (Peter Tielmann)

Tags

ALBERTA     BRITISH COLUMBIA     CANADA     MANITOBA     NEW BRUNSWICK     NEWFOUNDLAND     NORTHWEST TERRITORIES     NOVA SCOTIA     NUNAVUT     ONTARIO     PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND     QUEBEC     SASKATCHEWAN     YUKON    

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